Though a yearly maintenance visit from a qualified service technician is an important part of maintaining your Hvac and A/C systems, there are steps you homeowners can take to keep things running smoothly. Here a few tips to keep your system running like new.
Your A/C system needs to breath! A dirty Furnace filter is the most likely cause of sudden issues with your system. When the filter is clogged it restricts the airflow through the furnace and across the cooling coil installed in the ductwork above your furnace. This causes the coil to get too cold very quickly resulting in ice build up. It can also cause the main blower motor to work extremely hard to supply your home with air causing overheating, increased power consumption and premature component failure. If you feel little or no air coming from your vents and the house is not cooling down, replace you filter, turn cool off on your thermostat and run your furnace fan only for two hours. Now start up your A/C. If the problem persists, turn your A/C off and call a qualified service contractor!
Your humidifier should be off during the summer. Set your humidity level in your home to off or 0% while using A/C in summer months. Your whole home humidifier adds water to the air traveling through your furnace. When the A/C is running, the refrigerant in the coil is well below freezing temperatures. Added moisture in the air with freeze to the coil and cause air restriction just like the previous tip. If this occurs shut your humidifier off and close the damper on the humidifier. There is a small lever on your humidifier labeled summer and winter or on & off. Insure it is set to the appropriate position. On for winter off for summer. If the problem persists, call a qualified service contractor!
If your A/C system shows that it is running on your thermostat and the outdoor unit does not start up outside, Check your Circuit Breaker. There is a dedicated breaker installed in your electrical panel for your A/C. if your outdoor unit is not running and the breaker is on, Call a qualified service contractor.
Keep the air moving! Closing off vents in your home is detrimental to A/C performance. Your Hvac system is specifically designed to manage the heat load in your home. Closing off too many vents restricts the airflow across your furnace causing freeze ups much like a dirty filter. Closing vents in one or two rooms in the house is fine but too many will cause issues and potential damage to the outdoor unit.
Close your basement vents during A/C season! It’s already cool down there and cold air falls naturally to the lowest point of the house. Close them off and force that cold air upstairs. In the fall open them back up or you’ll be mighty chilly down there come winter.
Get a tune up! Every other spring ensure you have a qualified Hvac tech perform a full inspection of your Hvac system. Testing furnace operation and safeties as well as A/C performance and refrigerant levels is not only meant to keep your system healthy but to keep you healthy as well. Issues with your furnace can result in high carbon monoxide and various other toxic gas levels in your home. A good service contractor is dedicated to prolonging the life of both customers and their systems.
If you are in between tune up years, you can do a mini tune up of your own. Start the season off with a brand-new filter. Shut the power off at the breaker or the disconnect switch outside by your unit and clean the outdoor coil. This sounds daunting, but I’ll walk you through it! With the power off, simply use your wide-angle hose sprayer (not the jet spray or a pressure washer!) and spray the outdoor unit in between the slats to reach the coil behind the shell. Keep spraying until the water runs clear. Clear away any debris build up from the winter months from around the outdoor unit. Make sure as many vents as possible in your home are open. Now start it up! If the unit doesn’t run, or runs but doesn’t cool the house, call a qualified service contractor!
Prepping for winter. Your system is basically winter ready. When you are done running your A/C for the year install the winter cover to protect from falling ice and snow. In many cases the outdoor unit has an internal temperature sensor. When the temperature outside is below 10 degrees C the unit is unable to run. Even if your thermostat shows that the unit is running it’s not! (Bonus tip, if your system is not cooling during the summer and the thermostat shows cool on don’t panic. It may be less than ten degrees outside. This is great! Open a window and enjoy some free A/C!) Shut the main power off to the unit. Change the filter if you haven’t already and you are set for winter!
Follow these tips and you can be confident you’ve done everything in your power to be a good A/C owner. I’ll say it once again. When in doubt, Shut the power to the unit off, run your FURNACE FAN ONLY & CALL A QUALIFIED SERVICE CONTRACTOR!.