The average heat index in July is 113 degrees in Prattsville, Alabama. Not only does Prattsville have intense heat, usually reaching into the 90s, but the paired humidity makes the air feel much hotter and certainly more oppressive.
You simply can’t go without a working AC in Alabama during the hottest of the summer months. Heat will cause you to tire faster because your body will have to work harder to cool you. Additionally, humidity makes the air feel heavy and hard to breathe.
A functioning air conditioner fixes these problems. It cools the air and reduces indoor humidity, giving you an oasis where you can live, eat, and sleep in comfort.
A broken AC unit is literally the death of an Alabamian in the summer. You can prevent such a disaster by conducting regular HVAC maintenance. Here are the basic HVAC maintenance tips you can follow to ensure your HVAC system works properly all summer long.
Step One: Turn Off the Unit
Before the heat sets in, follow some basic maintenance steps. Begin by turning off your unit. Go to the service panel and turn off the power to the condenser.
You should also have a disconnect box near your condenser. This box will have a lever, circuit breaker, or fuse. Flip the lever or switch to turn off the unit.
Now you can safely conduct the rest of your maintenance tasks.
Switch Out the Filter
A dirty filter will cause all kinds of problems for an HVAC unit. Yet changing the filter is one of the simplest tasks you can do. So change your filter after you’ve turned off the unit.
You can find the filter near the air handler cabinet of the furnace. Changing the filter is a matter as simple as sliding out the old filter and sliding in a new filter. You can purchase a new filter at local hardware or department store.
Energy officials recommend changing the filter at least every 30 days in the hottest months. When the filter fills with dust and debris, it obstructs the air from flowing and can cause an AC unit to seize up and freeze.
Also, a dirty filter will not filter out any more contaminants. These contaminants will then make their way into your home and wreak havoc on the occupants of the house.
Clean Condenser Coils
The condenser unit sits outside your house. It is a big box made of metal with grids on its side and a fan blade inside. Often people refer to the condenser unit as their AC.
Keep your condenser free from all obstructions. Do not cover it with a tarp or cover. Remove any dirt, debris, or leaves that have accumulated near it.
Then use a hose with a nozzle to spray off the unit and clean off the debris and dirt. Avoid getting water in the electrical components. Also, keep the spray gentle enough to not bend the fins on the fan.
Trim Shrubs and Trees
Your unit should have a three-foot perimeter around it. If you have any shrubs that are crowding it closer than three feet, trim them down to give your condenser unit a free flow of air.
Then take off the top of the unit and check out the inside. Remove any debris that has accumulated at the bottom of the condenser. Make sure the drain isn’t clogged with debris.
Use a rag or vacuum to clean the fan blades. Then check the motor and entire unit for loose bolts. Lubricate the oil ports with WD-40 or another lightweight oil.
Check Your Lines
Over time debris will accumulate in your refrigerant and drain lines. Usually, these lines have insulation over them to protect them and help them retain energy.
This foam can begin to fray. Replace the insulation on the lines. Check the inside of your drainage line to make sure it is draining properly. This line will be a hose that has moisture coming from it, going to a drain in your basement or outside away from the house.
Adjust Your Thermostat
You can lengthen the life of your AC by having it run primarily when people are home. A smart thermostat will save you money on energy and on AC repair bills. Have the thermostat set so it turns off after you leave for work and turns on approximately an hour before you come home.
This will ultimately lower your energy bill and protect your AC unit.
Your ductwork is the circuit of large tubes that brings cold air from the condenser to your rooms. If those ducts have leaks, then the cold air will escape and not travel as efficiently to your home.
Your unit will be working harder to cool your house when the cool air doesn’t all make it to its destination. Check the ductwork for holes and loose connections. Then reseal it.
Seal Doors and Windows
Sometimes basic AC maintenance means going beyond the air conditioner itself. If your doors and windows are leaking outside air, then your AC unit is working harder than it should cool your home. You can seal your doors and windows with proper weatherization strips.
Check your windows by gently pushing on the panes. If they’re loose, you have a compromised window and need to reseal the glass. Look into weatherization kits at your local hardware store to protect your doors and windows.
All of these steps will maximize your HVAC system to its fullest potential.
Don’t Neglect HVAC Maintenance
Take time for HVAC maintenance at the beginning of the summer. When you do this, you will find yourself enjoying the coolness of your home during the hottest of days outside. You will rest easy at night knowing that you’ve done all you can do to keep your AC running all summer long.
If this list feels a little too technical for you, call in an AC technician for a regular maintenance call. You should have a professional run a tune-up on your AC annually to check refrigerant levels and to fix small problems before they become big problems.
Are you looking for a good AC service? If so, contact us. Our technicians understand Alabama heat, and they’re ready to keep you cool throughout this hot season.