13 Things You Should Do Before Turning on Your AC Unit

Air Conditioning in Waterloo and Listowel, Home Comfort

Tasks to complete before turning on your AC for the first time this season include taking the cover off the outdoor unit and checking it for damage, moving debris away from the outdoor unit, replacing your furnace filter and thermostat batteries, opening air vents, checking refrigerant lines, flushing the condensate drain, turning your humidifier and air exchanger to the “summer” setting, and looking for condensate leaks once the system is running.

Posted by Brad | April 6, 2020 | Reading Time:

With warm weather on the way, it’s vital to make sure your AC is ready to function properly before you begin using it. While you may have left it alone throughout the winter, that doesn’t always mean it’ll still be in the shape you left it in! Fortunately, running a few easy checks and getting a little help when necessary will ensure that your air conditioner still provides reliable, cost-effective cooling throughout the hottest months of the year.

We’ve performed countless AC inspections in Ontario over the years, so we’ve seen the difference proper care and maintenance can make. Read on to learn exactly what you should do before starting up your AC for the first time this season.

Outdoor Unit Tasks

Remove the Cover

Removing the cover on your outdoor unit helps maintain its efficiency by preventing dirt, debris, and other obstructions from impeding airflow. Regularly checking and cleaning the unit ensures it runs smoothly and at its peak performance.

Visually Check the Unit for Damage

Visually checking your outside unit for any damage is crucial to ensure the optimal performance of your AC. Dents, cracks, or loose parts can hinder the efficiency of your cooling system and lead to further complications. Regularly looking for these signs can help you spot any potential issues early, allowing you to call for AC repairs before things get worse.

Check Exposed Outdoor Wiring

Once you’ve verified the condition of the outdoor unit itself, visually inspect any wires leading to it to make sure they aren’t damaged or broken. Damaged wires can cause electrical problems, safety hazards, and system malfunctions. If you notice any damaged wiring, do not start your unit. Instead, contact us for help and we’ll recommend a safe solution.

Clear Debris Away from the Unit

Clearing any shrubs, grass, and debris away from your outdoor air conditioner unit is essential for maintaining sufficient airflow and allowing your system to work efficiently. Blocked airflow can cause your AC to overheat, reduce efficiency, and lead to costly repairs.

Indoor AC Tasks

Replace Your Furnace Filter

Replacing the filter in your furnace is essential for improving your AC's efficiency. A clean filter ensures proper airflow, reducing the strain on your system and keeping your energy bills in check. Dirty filters can negatively impact your indoor air quality and make your AC work harder than necessary, leading to higher energy consumption and a shorter lifespan for your system.

Remember to replace the filter with one that's designed specifically for your duct system. Using an incorrect filter can cause your AC coil to freeze and leak water through your furnace, potentially damaging your system. If you're unsure about which filter to use, don't hesitate to call our team for guidance.

Close Up Of Mature Woman Adjusting Central Heating Temperature At Home On Thermostat

Replace the Batteries in Your Thermostat & Checking the Settings

It's important to replace the batteries in your thermostat regularly, since the thermostat is responsible for sending data to your AC about how hard it should work to achieve the temperature you’ve chosen. Weak or dead batteries can cause inaccurate temperature readings and hinder your system's performance. Once you’ve replaced the batteries, you should also double-check the settings on your thermostat to make sure they’re correct.

Make Sure Your Supply and Return Vents Are Open

Ensure that all your vents are open to promote proper air circulation throughout your home. Blocked vents can lead to uneven cooling and cause your AC system to work harder than necessary, resulting in higher energy bills and potential system strain.

Check Your Refrigerant Lines for Damage

Visually inspect the insulation on the refrigerant lines running from your furnace to your outdoor unit. Damaged insulation can lead to inefficient cooling and higher energy bills. Identifying and repairing any issues early can help keep your AC running efficiently and save you money.

Flush Your Condensate Drain

Pouring about a ½ cup of chlorine bleach down your condensate drain and flushing it with about four litres of water helps keep the drain clear and prevents mold growth. A clogged drain can cause water damage, system malfunctions, and reduce your AC's efficiency.

Turn Your Humidifier to the Summer Setting

Turning your humidifier to the summer setting and adjusting the damper to the summer position helps maintain proper humidity levels in your home, which contributes to overall comfort and AC efficiency. Properly managing humidity can reduce the burden on your cooling system and save energy.

Set your Air Exchanger to the Summer Setting

Setting your air exchanger to the summer setting helps maintain optimal indoor air quality and ensures your AC system runs efficiently. Properly adjusted air exchangers can help reduce energy consumption and prolong the life of your AC.

Last Steps

Look for Condensate Leaks

After starting your air conditioner, monitor the area around your furnace regularly for a couple of days to ensure there are no condensate leaks. If you notice water around your furnace, shut off your air conditioner immediately, turn off the electricity to your furnace, and call a professional for assistance. You should also listen for any banging, screeching, or other unusual noises once your air conditioner is running. These may be signs that your AC requires professional attention urgently.

Call for Professional Maintenance

Finally, we recommend scheduling a professional inspection of your AC—including refrigerant, electrical, and your home’s duct system. Our experienced technicians have the skills to spot signs of potential problems that you may not notice on your own, and the tools to address these problems before they lead to expensive breakdowns. We can also provide you with expert advice on the best way to use and maintain your AC for optimal performance. With our help, you’ll be able to count on your cooling system whenever you need it.

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