How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer Like the Pros (In 10 Easy Steps)

Okay Kansas City, our days are numbered before the sweltering humidity and 90+ degree days are here. Unless you’re a die-hard holdout on flipping your thermostat to A/C mode, you’ve probably been running your air for a few weeks already. Maybe it’s running fine, but did you properly prepare your A/C to take on the heat all summer long?

If not, now’s the time. A well-maintained air conditioner keeps your home comfortable and helps avoid unexpected and uncomfortable breakdowns (which always seem to happen on the hottest days of the year, right?).

Some of the maintenance steps you can do all on your own. Others are best performed by HVAC experts. Here’s how to prepare your air conditioner for summer, just like the pros at Envirotech Heating & Cooling do. (Or you can skip all this and schedule your A/C service online.)

1. Start with a Thorough Inspection

Before digging into the hands-on maintenance tasks, begin with a thorough inspection of your air conditioning unit using your eyes only. You’re looking for any signs of wear and tear, such as rust or leaks. Check the outdoor unit for debris, such as leaves or branches, that may have accumulated over the winter months. While you’re at it, might as well clear away any foliage or weeds that will grow up the sides of the unit. Why? Clearing away potential obstructions from your unit will help it run more efficiently.

2. Replace Your Air Filter

One of the easiest yet most effective maintenance tasks is replacing your air filter. A new filter helps keep the emergency service appointments at bay. Dirty filters restrict airflow, which forces your air conditioner to work harder than it should to cool your home. Restricted air flow due to a filthy filter not only decreases efficiency and speeds up wear and tear, but also increases your energy bills. It’s smart to check your filter monthly and replace it every one to three months, depending on usage and filter type.

3. Clean the Condenser Coils GENTLY

The condenser coils in your outdoor unit are important because they dissipate heat. Over time, condenser coils become covered with dirt and grime, reducing their efficiency.

To clean the coils, first, turn off the power to the unit. Then, using a garden hose with a GENTLE spray, rinse away the dirt and debris. Be careful not to bend the delicate fins. We like a good power washer project as much as the next person, but this is definitely not one of them, not even for stubborn dirt. Instead, consider using a coil cleaner specifically designed for air conditioners.

4. Check the Refrigerant Levels (Important Caveat Included)

Low refrigerant levels can significantly impact your air conditioner’s performance. If you notice that your A/C is not cooling as effectively or if you hear a hissing sound, it may indicate you have a refrigerant leak. Caveat: unless you’re extremely comfortable with your HVAC DIY skills, leave checking refrigerant levels and handling leaks to Envirotech’s professional HVAC technicians. If you suspect a problem, schedule a service appointment to ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency.

5. Inspect and Clean the Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils are located inside your indoor unit. Their job is to absorb heat from the air. These coils can also accumulate dirt, reducing their efficiency.

To clean the evaporator coils, first, turn off the power to the unit. Then, remove any dust or debris using canned air or a soft brush, if necessary. For a more thorough cleaning, use a no-rinse coil cleaner.

6. Check the Thermostat

Your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home. If you’re still using an old, manual thermostat or even a first-gen smart one, consider upgrading to a smarter thermostat or at least a programmable one. The payoff is greater control over your home’s temperature, allowing you to set schedules and adjust settings remotely for improved efficiency and comfort.

7. Inspect the Ductwork

Leaky or blocked ductwork can cause your air conditioner to work harder, leading to higher energy bills and uneven cooling (rooms or even floors hotter/cooler than they should be). Inspect your ductwork for any visible signs of damage, such as holes or disconnected sections. Ensure all vents are open and you might even check down there to pull out any toys, cereal, etc. If you suspect significant issues with your ductwork, contact us for a thorough inspection and repair.

8. Check the Electrical Components

Faulty electrical components can prevent your air conditioner from functioning correctly. Inspect the wiring and connections for any signs of wear or damage. Ensure that all electrical components, such as capacitors and contactors, are in good working condition. Some issues can be obvious to the eye. Some not. If you’re uncomfortable working with electrical components, we don’t blame you. Again, schedule one of our technicians, no problem.

9. Test the System

Once you’ve completed all the maintenance tasks, it’s time to test your air conditioning system (and A/C maintenance skills). Turn on the power and set your thermostat to a cool setting. Listen for any unusual noises and ensure that cool air is blowing from the vents. Let the system run for a while to verify that it is operating efficiently and effectively.

10. Schedule a Professional Tune-Up Because It Never Hurts

While there are many maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, scheduling a professional tune-up is always a good idea. Your HVAC technician from Envirotech can thoroughly inspect and service your air conditioner, identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems. Regular professional maintenance can extend the life of your system and ensure it runs at peak efficiency all summer long.

Final Thoughts

Preparing your air conditioner for summer like the pros involves a combination of DIY maintenance and professional service. By following these steps, you can ensure your A/C unit is ready to keep your home cool and comfortable, even during the hottest days.

For professional HVAC services and maintenance in Kansas City, trust Envirotech. Our experienced technicians are here to help you keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or put your maintenance schedule on autopilot with a service agreement.