Now that winter has come and gone, temperatures are rising in Valencia, CA and surrounding cities. And that means that you’ll be needing to use your air conditioner again pretty soon. But before you adjust your thermostat and turn on the AC, there are a few things you should do first, just to make sure everything is working properly. So here are five things homeowners should do to prep their HVAC systems for spring.
1. Change Out the HVAC filters
Most HVAC systems will last you 10-12 years or more, depending on the amount of wear and tear placed on them. But to get the most mileage out of your system, it’s important to keep out dust and other particles while allowing air to flow freely. So one of the first things you’ll want to do to get your air conditioner ready for spring and summer is to change out the HVAC air filter. This keeps all the parts of your air conditioner running smoothly. And it also helps clean the air in your home so that you can breathe more comfortably.
Replacing your air filters is a quick and easy home maintenance task that most homeowners can handle on their own. It only takes a few minutes and usually doesn’t require any tools. The filter is designed for the airflow to go in one direction only, so it’s important to install the new filter properly. If you look along the side edge of the filter, there should be arrows indicating which way the air should flow through it.
For most household central air systems, filters should be replaced about every three months or so. But if some family members have allergies or other respiratory conditions – or if you have dogs, cats, or other indoor pets that shed a lot of fur and pet dander – then you might want to change the air filters more frequently to improve your indoor air quality and reduce strain on your HVAC system.
2. Clean Your Air Vents and Ductwork
The next step on your list is to clean your supply vents, registers, and ductwork. Supply vents are simply the vents in your walls or ceiling that supply cool air from the air conditioner to each room in your home. Some supply vents have a small lever built in that allows you to control the amount of air flowing through the vents – these are called registers.
You can simply hit these vents with a feather duster or vacuum attachment to take off any little bits of dust that might be stuck to them. If they haven’t been cleaned in years, then you might need to use a little degreasing spray cleaner and a rag.
The air ducts inside your walls and ceiling – and floors in some homes – should also be cleaned every few years. Once cleaned thoroughly, the ductwork can also be inspected and tested to make sure there aren’t any air leaks that would make your air conditioner less efficient. But this is not a DIY project and should only be performed by professionals.
3. Uncover and Inspect the Condenser Coils
Now let’s head outside to take a look at your condenser. For most single-family homes, the condenser will be sitting on a little concrete slab alongside your house.
Most modern condensers are built really tough. They can handle just about any kind of weather that Mother Nature can throw at them, so it’s not always necessary to cover them up in the winter. But, if you are in the habit of covering up your condenser in the winter to protect it from the elements, then now’s the time to uncover it and take a look at your condenser coils.
The coils are kind of like the little fins on a car radiator. If your coils have picked up any dead leaves and twigs or other debris, you’ll want to clear them out so that airflow is not restricted. Just gently pull them off or brush them away from the condenser. The coils are a little delicate, so do be careful with them.
4. Get Your HVAC System Checked Out
At this point, you’re just about ready to fire up the AC and see how it runs. But since your system has been sitting unused for several months during the cold season, you might want to take just one more precaution before you turn the air conditioner.
Most HVAC manufacturers recommend scheduling regular maintenance at least once a year. An annual tune-up and inspection can help keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently for many years.
Since you likely haven’t needed to run your AC for several months, it’s a good idea to have it checked out first. In some homes, it’s not uncommon for pests to make their way into your system and create all kinds of filth and debris that could damage your HVAC components. A quick check-up from our licensed professionals will make sure you’re all set before putting all those moving parts into action.
Southland Heating & Air Conditioning offers an annual residential prepaid VIP Membership Program where we inspect your system for potential problems and give it a thorough tune-up. Regular preventive maintenance helps keep everything running smoothly and reduces the odds of your air conditioner or heater suddenly breaking down when you need it most.
5. Take Your AC for a Test Run
Once all the components of your air conditioning system are checked out, cleaned, and tuned up, it’s time to turn on your AC for the first time this spring. If everything is in good working order, then it will only take a few minutes for the air to start blowing nice and cool through your supply vents and registers.
One last thing you might want to take a look at once your system is running again is the condensation drain line. This is usually just a little PVC pipe that safely removes the moisture that is created from your air conditioner. It may take an hour or more of use before you see water dripping out. But it’s a good idea to check that the line hasn’t become clogged up from any insects nesting in there over the winter. As long as the moisture is dripping out, you should be just fine.
So that’s all you need to do to prepare your air conditioner for regular use during the warmer seasons here in Newbury Park, CA and surrounding areas. If you’ve gone through these steps but are experiencing any problems with your air conditioner, contact Southland Heating & Air Conditioning for assistance. We are a family-owned and -operated company with more than 50 years of experience. We also provide heater repair, maintenance, and installation. You can also look to us for solutions to improve your indoor air quality too. Call now to schedule a spring tune-up for your air conditioner.