Home Inspector Asks, Is Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer?

Just like any of the other systems in our homes, our air conditioners need periodic inspection and maintenance to keep them running smoothly. We want the air conditioner to work when we need it right?  Too often though, people wait until the temperatures soar to find out that the old unit just won’t fire up.  Summer is coming and soon we will all want our air conditioners to run at peak performance to keep us comfortable. Careful inspection of the air conditioning system prior to peak use can help you to head off problems ahead of time. First, the more you use your air conditioner, the more often it should perform an inspection. Filters are a good place to start. Cold air moves harder that hot air. If your air filter is plugged, the fan has to work harder to move the air. If the air isn’t moving, the air conditioner has to work harder to meet the desired temperature in the home. Buy a good air filter and make sure to change them at the manufacturers prescribed frequency. 

At the condenser, (outside), make sure that there is adequate clearance for air flow around the unit.  Three feet above and one foot at the sides, minimum clearance will allow the air to flow freely. Also, make sure that the cooling fins are free of debris and damage. If the fins are clogged with dryer lint or grass clippings, air can’t move freely through the condenser. 

Catch small problems before they turn into big problems. Noisy condenser units could be anything from a loose screw on a panel or safety screen, to a loose fan blade. Loose fan blades could also be hitting part of the unit. If everything is tight and there is still a noise, it could be the condenser motor. You should call for service if this is the case. Make sure that the unit is sitting level to prevent unnecessary wear on the motor bearings. 

Noise at the furnace could mean a bad motor or loose/worn drive belt. Again, you should call a service technician for repairs.