Common Questions About Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

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As the weather starts to get warmer outside, you'll likely get to a point where you want to turn on your air conditioner. This can leave you with questions about what kind of maintenance your air conditioner needs as you start using it again. Here are a few common questions that you'll likely have. 

Should the Outdoor Condenser Be Cleaned? 

If your air conditioner has been left uncovered since last fall, chances are that it should be cleaned before you use it again. You'll want to turn off the power to the condenser before taking off the protective grate over the fan blades. Then remove any leaves and debris that found their way into the condenser. You can use a hose with a spray nozzle to clean out any debris that is stuck between the metal fins of the condenser to improve air flow. 

How Can You Tell If the Unit Is Low on Refrigerant? 

Refrigerant is the key to making cool air in your home, since it extracts the heat and moves it to the outside. However, low refrigerant is going to cause problems with how your air conditioner performs, with it producing hot air. The best way to tell if your air conditioner is working properly is to put a thermometer in the supply and return air vents to get a temperature reading. There should be a difference in temperature of 16°F to 22°F between the two vents. If the air temperature is not within this range, then you know there is a problem with the air conditioner that needs to be fixed.

You could simply have low refrigerant in the system or a refrigerant leak that needs to be repaired. Bring in an HVAC specialist to find the leak, which can be found by putting a special dye in the system to see where it is leaking out through the refrigerant lines. With the leak sealed, more refrigerant can be put into the air conditioner so that it produces cold air at the right temperature. 

Should the Air Filter Be Changed?

Changing the air filter is crucial to keep the air flowing and the air quality clean. If you have a forced air heating system, all the air the furnace produced had to pass through the same air filter that your air conditioner uses. Make sure you are changing the filter regularly to keep the system running as best as it can. If you have pets in your home, consider changing the filter more frequently to remove pet dander that makes its way into the air. 

Contact a service that offers AC maintenance to learn more.