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How Do I Get My AC Ready for The Summer?

February 28, 2024 | Blog

As winter winds down and the weather starts to warm up, it’s crucial to ensure that your air conditioning system is operating at its best before the sweltering heat of summer. Regular maintenance not only enhances the efficiency of your air conditioning but also prolongs its lifespan, saving you from unexpected breakdowns and high repair costs.

So, how do I get my AC ready for the summer? To help you prepare for the scorching days ahead, here’s a comprehensive checklist on how to your AC ready for summer with an AC tune-up from the pros at Service Wizard.

Why Does Air Conditioning Prep Matter?


Late spring is when most people start up their air conditioning for the first time of the season. It’s not enough to just turn it on and hope that it works. Failing to prep your system properly can lead to some costly problems that could ruin your summer comfort.

For example, without proper maintenance heading into summer, you could find yourself facing high utility bills and an underperforming system. You could also overwork your unit, which can cause your HVAC to fail completely, leaving you without thousands of dollars in air conditioning repairs.

1. Inspect the Outdoor Unit

The first step to prepare your air conditioning is thoroughly inspecting your outdoor HVAC unit. Check the panels that enclose the electrical connections to ensure they’re in place to protect you and your system. If there’s a panel missing or misaligned, this can create problems for your system. If something is out of place, call a licensed HVAC technician for an assessment before starting your system.

2. Remove the Condenser Covers, Coil Blankets, or Lids

Remove any coverings from winter before you start your system. These covers protect and insulate the coils, but they also limit heat transfer. Starting the system with the covers in place can damage the system.

3. Inspect and Clean the Coils



The evaporator and condenser coils of your air conditioning system play a crucial role in the heat exchange process. Over time, these coils can accumulate dirt, reducing their ability to absorb and release heat efficiently. Inspect the coils and clean them if necessary. For the condenser coil, remove any debris, leaves, or vegetation around the outdoor unit to ensure proper airflow.

4. Repair or Replace Damaged Pipe Insulation

Once you’ve removed any insulation or covers, it’s important to check your lines and pipes. The suction line supplies cool refrigerant to the compressor in the outdoor unit. If there’s damaged insulation, this could cause a loss of required cooling for the unit. Damage to the foam insulation can be caused by a lot of different things, including freezing water, animal damage, or sun rot. The foam insulation needs to be in good condition for your system to cool properly, so make sure to inspect it closely and replace it if necessary.

5. Remove Debris from the Outer Coil

It’s possible for trash or vegetation to blow against the coil over winter. The system condenser coils work by transferring heat, so any debris that has accumulated can negatively affect it. If you want the best possible performance from the system, remove the debris from the coil and surrounding area and clean it. You should also make sure that there’s no mulch around the base of the unit, which can impede airflow.

6. Check the Refrigerant Levels

Inadequate refrigerant levels can result in decreased cooling performance and higher energy consumption. Inspect the refrigerant levels and consult your air conditioning manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended levels. If you notice a significant drop, it may indicate a leak, and you should contact a professional HVAC technician to address the issue.

7. Replace or Clean Your Air Filters


One of the simplest yet most effective tasks you can perform is checking and either replacing or cleaning your air filters. Over time, filters accumulate dust and debris, restricting airflow and reducing the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. This can lead to increased energy consumption and a decrease in cooling performance. Consider replacing disposable filters or cleaning and reusing washable ones.

8. Inspect and Clean the Ductwork

Leaky or dirty ducts can lead to a loss of cool air and reduced efficiency. Inspect the ductwork for any visible leaks or damage. Seal any gaps or joints using duct tape or mastic sealant. Additionally, consider hiring a professional duct cleaning service to remove dust, mold, and other contaminants that may have accumulated in the ducts.

9. Test the Ductwork

Ensure that your thermostat is functioning correctly by testing it before the summer heat sets in. Check the accuracy of the temperature readings and replace the batteries if necessary. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. This allows you to set temperature schedules, optimizing energy usage when you’re away and ensuring comfort when you’re at home.

10. Inspect the Fan Blades

The fan blades in your air conditioning unit help circulate air throughout the system. Check for any visible damage and clean the blades if they are dirty. Ensure that the fan is securely attached to the motor shaft and tighten any loose connections. Properly functioning fan blades contribute to efficient airflow and cooling.

11. Clean the Condensate Drain


The condensate drain allows the moisture collected during the cooling process to exit the system. Over time, this drain can become clogged with algae, mold, or debris. Inspect the condensate drain and use a mixture of bleach and water to clean it. A clear condensate drain prevents water damage and ensures the efficient removal of humidity from your home.

12. Inspect Insulation and Seals

Examine the insulation on refrigerant lines to ensure it is in good condition. Replace any damaged or missing insulation to prevent energy loss. Check the seals around windows and doors to ensure a tight seal, preventing warm air from entering and cool air from escaping. Proper insulation and sealing contribute to energy efficiency and a comfortable indoor environment.

13. Test the Capacitors

Capacitors are essential components that help start the motors in your air conditioning system. Test the capacitors to ensure they are in good working condition. A malfunctioning capacitor can lead to motor failure and result in costly repairs. If you are not familiar with capacitor testing, it’s advisable to consult with a professional HVAC technician.

14. Clean the Supply Vents and Return Grills

Check that all of your vents are clean and clear of debris and obstructions. The supply and return air grills and vents should be open and clear. Use your vacuum to remove any pet hair or dust that may have accumulated during the winter. If you don’t have proper airflow back through the system, it can overwork your system, raise your energy bills, and cause premature burnout in your air conditioning.

15. Check Your Thermostat and Circuit Breaker


One of the final tasks in your air conditioning preparation is to check the thermostat and circuit break. Make sure all of the circuits are flipped on and the thermostat is set properly.

16. Inspect the Electrical Components

Examine all electrical components, including wiring, contacts, and connections. Look for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Tighten any loose connections and replace damaged wiring. Faulty electrical components can lead to system malfunctions, so addressing issues promptly is crucial for the safety and reliability of your air conditioning unit.

17. Turn Your System On

Once you’ve given your indoor and outdoor units a good inspection and tested various components, you can turn your air conditioning on and monitor its performance. Check the air coming out of the indoor vents for the first few minutes after starting it. You should have cool air coming out. If the air is warm, or it’s not coming out at all, then turn your system off and contact an HVAC technician.

18. Schedule Professional Maintenance

While there are several tasks you can perform on your own, a professional inspection and maintenance is the best way to ensure that your system is truly ready for the season. A certified HVAC technician can identify and address potential issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye. Professional maintenance typically includes cleaning, lubricating moving parts, and ensuring all components are in optimal condition.

19. Consider Upgrading to a High-Efficiency System


If your air conditioning unit is old and inefficient, upgrading to a high-efficiency system can provide numerous benefits. Newer models are designed to be more energy-efficient, reducing your utility bills and environmental impact. Additionally, modern systems often come with advanced features such as smart thermostats and zoning options, allowing for greater control over your indoor climate.

Get Your AC System Ready for Summer

If you wait until summer to fire up your AC and see if it’s working properly, you could end up with major problems that ruin your summer comfort and cost you a lot of money in repairs. Follow this checklist to ensure your air conditioning is ready for summer, or schedule a professional inspection and maintenance to have a professional technician do all the work for you.

Do you need professional AC summer maintenance? Contact the pros at Service Wizard to schedule your appointment!

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