March 27, 2024
Cooling Installation in East Peoria, IL

With spring on the horizon around central Illinois, it’s time to begin thinking about preparing your air conditioner for the heat. As you transition from heating your home over the winter, there are some key maintenance tasks that will ensure you maintain your system’s efficiency while reducing your cooling bills and the wear on your system. Use this checklist as your guide to hit all of the important HVAC maintenance tasks before the summer heat settles in.

Stow Humidifiers

It’s common to use a humidifier to help improve your home’s air quality over the winter, but it’s generally not needed over the summer. If you just leave the humidifier out after turning it off, it may start growing spores that will exasperate allergies over the summer.

If you use room-level vaporizers, empty them out and consider cleaning them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Dry them out thoroughly and then put them away for the summer. If you have a whole-house humidifier, turn the water off to the unit and then follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preparing it for the summer.

Change Air Filters

It’s best to check your filter every month so that you change it before it has the chance to put any strain on your system. However, if you haven’t changed your filter recently, consider changing it before you turn on your air conditioner. For 1- and 2-inch filters, you’ll want to plan to change it every 30 to 90 days depending on its construction and your home’s air quality.

Open and Clear Vents

Your system won’t be able to cool your home if it can’t push cool air from the system into your home. Sometimes things fall or accidentally get moved over the vents, restricting airflow and reducing your system’s cooling efficiency. Check all of your vents and make sure they are open and clear, even in rooms you don’t use. The proper clearance for supply cents is at least 6 inches above and around each vent.

Thermostat TLC

It’s easy to forget about and neglect your thermostat, but as the brain of the system, you want to ensure it continues to work properly. Start by replacing the batteries that maintain the settings even if the thermostat loses power. Also, with only a 10 to 15-year service life, consider whether it’s time to replace your thermostat, possibly with a smart model. Further, check your settings to ensure they reflect the temperature needed for the warmer weather, that the programs reflect your schedule during longer days, and that the time is set accurately.

Prep Ceiling Fans

Your home’s ceiling fans don’t cool the air but will make it feel cooler due to the wind chill effect. Turn the fans off and clean any dirt or dust that’s built up over the winter. Next, flip the switch on the fan housing to change the direction the blades spin to push air down, which is counterclockwise, rather than draw it up like it does over the winter.

Clear Your Outside AC Unit

Your air conditioner must be able to vent the heat it absorbs from inside by drawing air through the condensing coil in the outside unit. However, if there isn’t enough clearance around the unit, it won’t draw the air needed. Most manufacturers recommend keeping at least 2 feet clear around all sides of the unit and about 5 feet above it. This includes grass, weeds, bushes, tree limbs and other debris. If you’re installing any sort of fencing or other concealment, make sure that you leave the proper clearance.

Clean Condensate Drain Line

Your air conditioner condenses moisture from the air, which drains away from your inside unit through the condensate drain. Over time, this can become clogged with a wide range of things from dust and dirt to metal shavings and mineral deposits. The easiest way to clean it is to pour 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar into the drain opening. Let it rest for about 30 minutes, then flush it with water.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Finally, schedule a maintenance visit with your preferred HVAC service provider. During this visit, a technician will perform a deep cleaning of your system and tighten mounting hardware and electrical connections. They’ll also perform substantial testing to ensure there’s enough refrigerant and the entire system is working within optimal parameters. Depending on your provider, they may even perform the condensate drain cleaning mentioned above.

Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is proud to have been the HVAC service provider of choice for property owners around Normal for more than 40 years. Our team provides heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair and installation, including geothermal systems, along with indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule a maintenance visit with one of our award-winning technicians today.

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