How To Prepare Your A/C System For The Coming Spring

According to the proclamations of a certain groundhog, spring is finally on its way. The only problem? Your air conditioner might not be in the best shape to tackle springtime temperatures, especially since it's lain dormant for the past few months. That's all the more reason to get your A/C system ready for its early debut. Here are a few ways you can do just that.

Check the Small Stuff First

Air conditioning systems are surprisingly complex, making it tough to know just where to start your A/C system checkup. The key is to start small by starting with the most accessible components first. On a typical A/C system, that usually means your thermostat and air filter.

Start with a visual inspection of your thermostat for any outward signs of damage. Make sure the display works properly and that it doesn't require a battery change. If your A/C system still uses an old-style thermostat, replace it with a modern programmable thermostat that offers more energy-saving features.

Now is also good time to replace your A/C system's old air filter with a clean, fresh filter. Clogged A/C air filters can cause sluggish performance and even trigger system breakdowns due to airflow blockages and subsequent overheating. If you're still using a fiberglass air filter with a relatively low MERV rating, then it's time to make the switch to a pleated air filter with MERV rating between 7 and 12.

Perform a Spring Cleaning

Your A/C system may be relatively clean on the inside, but outside may be an entirely different story. Months of dormancy can leave your outside unit covered in all manner of debris, leading to reduced system efficiency and eventual overheating if left unchecked.

Start by clearing the outdoor cabinet of any dead leaves, dirt, and debris you find, preferably with the help of a wet/dry shop vacuum. Use a soft brush attachment to vacuum dirt and dust from the condenser coil. Take care to not bend the fragile fins lining the coil. Rinse the coil with warm water to remove stubborn debris.

Go In-Depth With a Professional Inspection

Keep in mind there are some aspects of A/C repair that require a professional's touch. Only an experienced HVAC technician can safely check your system's refrigerant levels, for example. You also shouldn't hesitate to call a specialist to perform any tasks that are normally DIY but prove undoable for any reason.