Rochester MN Home Inspector Asks: Is Your Air Conditioner ready For Summer?

When was the last time that you had your air conditioning serviced? Last year? Two years ago? Never?

We’re at the beginning of June and Summer will be here before you know it! Have you taken the time to make sure that your air conditioner is ready to handle the hot summer days and muggy summer nights to come.

In addition to cooling the air inside of your home, your air condition actually “conditions” the air. The air is cooled, dehumidified and filtered. This is why it is so important to keep your filters clean and change them regularly. Make sure that you install the correct size filter and insert the new filter in the proper direction of the air flow indicating arrows. Always make sure that you can put the filter cover securely in place. You can reduce your energy consumption by 5% to 15% by replacing your filters at the prescribed intervals. Dirty filters result in your air conditioner having to work harder to move and cool the air. Cold air is harder to move that hot air which makes it even more important to keep them filters clean and changed.

Taking the time to perform a little outside inspection and maintenance will also help with your air conditioners performance. Be careful not to blow grass clippings in the direction of your compressor unit when mowing the lawn. Also maintain at least a minimum of one foot clearance around the compressor unit to allow for proper air flow and cooling of the coils.

Once a year, or when you compressor unit appears dirty, you can rinse the unit with a garden hose. Use the water stream to remove debris from the fan blades and the cooling coils. Clean coils and fans move the air more efficiently through the unit.

Never run your air conditioner if the outside temperature is below 65 degrees F. This can damage your compressor. Also, if you shut the power off to your air conditioner in the winter months, make sure that you turn the power back on at least 24 hours minimum prior to using your air conditioning system. There is a small heater in the compressor that keeps the lubricant at the proper operating temperature. If the lubricant temperature is too low you can damage the compressor unit.

You can use your ceiling fans to help move the cooled air in your home can make it more comfortable with your air conditioner set to a higher temperature than in summers past.

If you feel real energetic you could set some time aside to go through your home to ensure that the ductwork is properly insulated, especially in the attic or garage. Be sure that there is no furniture covering up the vents and cold air returns in each of your rooms. As you would in the winter, inspect the weather-stripping around your doors and windows to see if it needs to be replaced. Making sure that your windows, doors and fireplace dampers are completely closed helps to prevent cooled air from unnecessarily escaping your home too.

Try doing laundry or using the oven early morning or late evening. This will help to keep your home cooler during the day when the outdoor temperature is typically at its warmest.

Lastly, it is highly recommended that you have your air conditioning unit inspected by a licensed and insured service technician every couple of years. You want to make sure that your air conditioner will keep your home comfortable for years. Periodic service can prevent unexpected failures, and save you money in the long run.