Air Conditioning Tips for the Summer

by Jane VanOsdol on May 26, 2011

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer season, always a welcome holiday to help us make the transition from spring to summer. As you’re preparing for summer, don’t forget to make sure your air conditioner is ready to handle the hot summer temperatures. The time to find and deal with a problem is not when you’re stuck in the midst of a heat wave.

Regular Maintenance Is Essential

Regular maintenance is one of the home improvement keys to ensuring that your air conditioner functions as it should. If you neglect the maintenance, each year your air conditioner will become a little less efficient and will cost you more money to operate. So, call your air conditioning service and set up your appointment to have your unit serviced. Take advantage of annual service programs that often offer you two yearly service calls at a discounted rate. Ask your service company to see if they have such a service.

When it comes to service on your air conditioner, here are some things that should be checked and a few things to keep in mind.

  • Clean the condensing coils.
  • Check the amp draw of the compressor.
  • Oil the fan motors.
  • Check to make sure the belts are adjusted correctly.
  • Be sure the system operating pressures and temperatures are within the allotted guidelines of the manufacturer.
  • Check the coolant level. If it’s too low, it will cost you more money to operate the system. Adding coolant is a process regulated by law, so make sure an air conditioning contractor handles this for you.
  • When you’re having a new outside compressor unit installed for your air conditioning unit, try to locate it on the north side of the house, where it will be shaded as much as possible.
  • Keep the area around your compressor clear. Be sure to trim any bushes, trees and plants so that they are not touching the unit. This is especially important to keep the condenser coil from sucking any debris into the system. It’s a good idea to check this throughout the summer because grass clippings, dandelion fluff and cottonwood trees can all do a number on the unit, reducing its overall efficiency.

As in any major appliance or system, careful and regular maintenance will help insure that it functions as it was designed to do. It will also help you catch small problems before they become big ones—something you’ll appreciate it when the thermometer hits 90 degrees!

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