Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spring Cleaning Cooling Checklist

While spring months may already have come and gone, you may still not have yet had the opportunity to fire up the old air conditioner. Having a professional inspect your cooling system may be a consideration for your spring cleaning process. Such an inspection may help avoid costly repairs down the road and make your cooling system more efficient, saving you money over the long run. There are however, some simple, spring cleaning steps that you can take on your own to prepare your cooling system for peak performance.

Whether your cooling system consists of central air, wall units, or three box fans and a tray of ice-cubes, it is best to do a spring cleaning test run before temperatures begin to rise. Testing your cooling system can alert you to problems before temperatures reach the boiling point. There are several things you can check for when completing your test.

* Check for even and consistent operation.
* Listen for any unusual sounds.
* Ensure all vents are functioning.
* NOTE: You should make sure the outside temperature is above 60 degrees when conducting the test upon your central air unit. Operating an air unit below this temperature could cause damage to the system.

A spring cleaning test can also allow you to do a bit of preventative maintenance before your cooling system is expected to perform its job. There are several quick and easy tips that can make your air conditioning unit more efficient and circumvent issues that could become major problems.

* Check, clean, and replace filter.
* Ensure drain hoses for humidity removal are not clogged, and are draining properly.
* Inspect humidifier pad.
* Check for signs of corrosion on pipes and air conditioning unit.
* Remove winter cover from the outside condensing unit.
* Clean the condensing unit to free it from accumulated debris.
* Make sure condensing unit is free from grass or foliage that may have grown around it.
* Check to see that inside vents are open or closed and unblocked, depending on the areas of your home you choose to cool.
* If using a programmable thermostat, check to see it is properly set for your comfort level.

These are reasonably easy steps that can prevent future issues and better direct a service professional to problem areas if needed. Also, you might consider planting trees or shrubs around the exterior condensation and fan unit to keep it shaded. Direct sunlight can affect the performance of the cooling system. Just make sure that there is at least a three foot clearance or more to avoid obstructions falling into the fan or clogging the unit.

Finally, there are a few items on the spring cleaning checklist, which you should probably leave for a cooling system professional to inspect. These include:

* Inspecting refrigerant lines and electrical connections
* Checking and lubricating fan motor and belts
* Looking for air or water leaks
* Checking the condensate line and drain pan

Following up with your inspector to ensure that these areas can be checked off the spring cleaning checklist, can save time, trouble, and money down the road. Remember, preventative maintenance can be the key to an efficient and smoothly running cooling system.

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