If you have spent a summer in Northeast Kansas, than you know how hot and humid it can be. Chances are that you have also had to call a technician because your AC was not working. I have been in this business for about 8 years and I can say that about 85%-90% of the time that we get an AC tech to check out a non-working AC, the root cause is either dirty condensing coils or a dirty filter. A lot of times this is the only problem.
As we near the season of Air Conditioner, I thought now would be a good time to share some tips to keep you in the chill. Keep in mind that I am not an HVAC technician, some definitions of equipment I use might make a real HVAC guy go nuts! But hey we don’t care right? We are hoping not to see him this summer!
Lets start with the filter. With all the talk of how important changing filters are, I continue to see filters that look like the one pictured below. This is bad for any season, in fact during furnace season, this could pose a fire hazard especially for older furnaces. To be ready for AC season, the filter should be changed or if reusable, washed. We recommend changing the filter every month during heavy use. Face it, we are in Kansas. There is a lot of dust stirred up in these winds which goes right into the filter. Which by the way is much better than going into our AC unit, right? If you have inside pets, especially long haired pets, this will also help for the filter to accumulate more stuff to clog it. While you have the filter out, now might be a good time to take your shop vac and clean all the areas around the filter.
Next is the outside unit which houses the Air Conditioning Compressor. After sitting idle out in the winter doing nothing, it is ready to go to work. However, during this inactivity, it also attracts dirt, leaves, grass, weeds, and also an occasional dog thinking it may be a fire hydrant, that stick to the condenser coils that will impair performance. To get this unit ready for AC season, we need a water hose. Take a water hose and G-E-N-T-L-Y wash out all the gunk from in between the cooling fins. If you use too much water pressure, you will BEND the fins. They are pretty fragile, but just use some care and you will get them cleaned just fine. Some outside units are easier to clean than others. You may even have to remove a shroud or two in order to get access to the condenser coils. This is usually fastened with a few sheet metal screws and is pretty easy to remove.
So, lets get ready for the season of Air Conditioning, it is right around the corner. If you have a real HVAC technician come and do this service, you will pay about $75-$125. Usually the only thing more that they do is to check freon. Unless you have a really old system, the freon level usually will be good. Note that I said usually. Every few years I do have someone come and check the freon level.
So, make sure that your equipment is ready so we can be cool for the summer!