Most air conditioners work at high capacity all summer long. Throughout the hottest days of this season, they’re subjected to a tremendous amount of stress. As the end of summer draws near, it’s important to start getting your air conditioner ready for short-term, seasonal retirement. With these six end-of-summer maintenance tips, you can make sure that your home cooling equipment is ready to reliably perform when the warm weather comes back around.
1. Change Out the Air Filter
Air filter changes are both the easiest form of AC maintenance that homeowners can perform and the most important. These components capture and collect airborne particulates to improve indoor air quality and limit stress on the entire system. If you use your air conditioner every day during the summer, you should probably change your filter every two months. If you only use it moderately, you may be able to change it every three months. However, at the end of the season, always wrap things up with a fresh, clean filter. To give your system the best start in the coming summer, you may even want to upgrade this component from the stock fiberglass option that it came with to a higher-quality, pleated filter with a higher MERV rating.
2. Use a Fin Comb to Clean and Reshape the Compressor Fins
Before performing any major, hands-on maintenance at the end of the summer, spend some time reviewing your warranty and your owner’s manual. Some tasks can be easily handled by homeowners, while others are best passed on to professionals. When maintenance requires you to remove covers or enclosures or take parts out to access other ones, tackling it on your own could cause your warranty to be voided.
With this in mind, understand that heavy air conditioner use can lead to dirty and bent fins at the compressor. The compressor is the indoor component that often looks like a basic grill. It’s lined with a number of very thin metal fins. Not only can these fins collect a lot of dirt, hair, dust, and other debris, but they can gradually become misshapen. Using a fin comb is a great way to remove accumulations. It’s also a great way to move fins back to their former upright position. With many modern AC models, the fins are enclosed in a metal case. Rather than removing this case, contact an HVAC professional for a thorough fin cleaning.
3. Clean the Compressor and Condenser Coils
The compressor and condenser coils can get just as dirty and dusty as the compressor fins. This is certainly true at the exterior of the home when the condenser has been battered by strong winds, subjected to wildfire smoke, or surrounded by fast-growing foliage. Cleaning the condenser coils off will limit AC noise during operation and prevent loose debris from knocking into and damaging sensitive components. Obstructions and buildups at the evaporator coils in the interior of the home can cause similar problems. These can be gently wiped with a clean and slightly dampened cloth or a soft-bristled brush. When cleaning coils, always refer to your owner’s manual. For thorough cleaning and to limit the risk of damages, consider scheduling professional end-of-summer maintenance services instead.
4. Check for Overgrown Foliage and Debris at the Outside Condenser
Your outside condenser should have a decent amount of clearance all around its perimeter. Overgrown shrubs and tree branches can encroach this area and cause problems with overheating and other issues. Take some time to cut aggressive foliage back and to clean up any debris that has accumulated in this area. Doing this ahead of professional maintenance will make it easier for your HVAC technician to clean and service your unit properly.
5. Check the Drain Hoses for Clogs
During the process of lowering indoor temperatures and regulating inside moisture, air conditioners produce a fair amount of condensation. This water is moved out of and away from the home via drain hoses. If ongoing summertime use has caused debris to build up in your air conditioner’s drain hose, your home may be at risk of water damage. Checking and clearing this hose is a great way to protect your cooling system and to ensure that your baseboards, flooring, or other building features aren’t subjected to excess moisture. This end-of-summer maintenance service can also prevent bacteria from flourishing in blocked drains and creating air quality hazards.
6. Invest in a Quality Condenser Cover
A great way to get your AC system ready for the ravages of late fall and winter is by investing in a quality condenser cover. Although this component can stand up to the outside elements, a proper cover can limit wintertime wear. If your AC unit is on the roof, investing in a hail cover will protect it from serious hail damage. When installing covers, always avoid using do-it-yourself designs made from tarps or other plastic wraps. These can trap moisture around the unit and increase the likelihood of corrosion. If you need help finding an appropriate cover for your condenser, ask for a recommendation during your AC preventative maintenance service.
With our longstanding commitment to helping residents of the greater Boling-Iago, TX, area maintain optimum levels of home comfort, Hunter’s Air & Heat, Inc is proud to offer an expansive range of HVAC services and products. We provide precision tune-ups, repairs, installation services, extended warranties, attic insulation, indoor air quality services, and more. If you need help with your end-of-summer AC maintenance, call us to schedule an appointment today.