We’ve heard from a few of our customers that they don’t really know what they should be doing to start-up their AC in the spring. If you’re just flipping the switch to cool and hoping for the best, there’s a few more steps you should be taking to ensure you maintain the longevity of your cooling system for the years to come. See our tips in the the steps listed below, or check out our video if your unsure of what we’re talking about! If any of the steps listed in this post seem like too much work, you can always have us do them for you and join our Maintenance Club. Click here for more information on joining our Maintenance Club or call us @ 780.919.4916.
Please note, that the outside temperature must be above 12°C in order for your air conditioner to run.
Step 1: Change your furnace filter
Changing or cleaning the air filter is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain your air conditioner, as it heads off all these potential issues, improves energy efficiency and helps you avoid spending money on air conditioning repairs.
Here’s what can happen if you let air filter replacements fall by the wayside.
- Short-Cycling: Your air conditioner is supposed to cycle on and off occasionally throughout the day, but a dirty air filter can cause those cycles to become more frequent than they need to be, putting additional strain on your AC system.
- Freezing Up: A clean air filter allows air to flow freely through your unit. A dirty air filter restricts the flow of cold air, causing it to build up inside the air conditioner and lower the internal temperature. Given enough time, that buildup of cold air can eventually cause ice or frost to form on the coils outside.
- Allergen Buildup: A dirty filter can cause allergens to build up and linger in your duct system. Whenever you have a forced-air system running, those allergens will be released into the air you breathe.
- General Wear and Tear: Air conditioners just last longer if they’re maintained properly. Your air filter helps to stop dust and dirt from building up on all of the unit’s internal components. Changing your filter on a regular basis helps to reduce the wear and tear on your system, helping it to last longer and perform efficiently.
Step 2: Change your humidifier’s settings
Many people with central humidifiers go into the cooling season forgetting to shut down the humidifier for the summer. A central air conditioner will not cool or dehumidify properly if the humidifier is running. Keeping your humidifier on during the summer pushes cooler air into your coils and could cause a freeze-up of your system.
Step 3: Clean up around your condenser (outdoor unit)
- Rake back leaves and debris outside the condenser and cut back branches and vegetation at least 2 feet in all directions to ensure proper airflow around the unit.
- Remove a cover if you have used one. (Note: We don’t recommend a cover since moisture can build up inside and cause corrosion. Also, a completely covered unit encourages vermin to build nests inside and they may damage the condenser.)
- Just to be safe, turn the power off while you clean the unit.
- Spray down the outdoor unit with a gentle flow of water.
- Don’t forget to turn the power back on to the unit.
Step 4: Adjust your thermostat
Turn your system on to cool. The air conditioner will now come on automatically when the temperature at the thermostat registers below the setting you have selected. We recommend you keep your temperature on your thermostat set between 19-23℃. Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature will not cool the home faster!
Step 5: Adjust your registers
Keeping registers open improves comfort and moisture management, especially during summer months. You have the choice of adjusting the dampers in these covers to regulate the cool air flow within your home.
Do not completely close off more than 20% of the registers as this will reduce the airflow from your furnace, putting unnecessary strain on your furnace. (At this point, we would like to remind you that register filters should never be installed, as they reduce the airflow from your furnace, putting unnecessary strain on your furnace. )
Step 6: Check your basement return air
For maximum comfort and efficient energy use, arrange furniture and draperies to allow unobstructed airflow from registers and to cold air returns. If cold air is unable to return to the furnace, the flow of cooled air to that area of your home becomes restricted.
If you don’t have a return air vent in your basement or you find it is really cold and want another one, give us a call to have one installed.
Step 7: Adjust your ceiling fans
Reverse the direction of ceiling fans so that they spin counter clockwise blowing straight air down. This will help redistribute the warm air trapped near the ceiling making the room feel cooler.
Step 8: Call Ignite for annual maintenance
At Ignite, we suggest annual maintenance of you unit to ensure it will perform optimally for the season. The steps listed in this post do not replace the steps taken during our maintenance visits! A maintenance visit consists of a deep clean of the outdoor condensing unit, checking for signs of refrigerant leaks, and ensuring the unit is will perform efficiently for the season. However, if any of the steps listed in this post seem like too much work, you can always have us do them for you when we do your annual maintenance. Also, have you heard about our Maintenance Club? Click here for more information on joining or call us @ 780.919.4916.