Summer Air Conditioning Service Check
It is so easy to just flip the switch on the air conditioner when it starts to get hot that we take it for granted. However, the AC unit may have suffered some damage over the winter that needs corrected before turning it on. It doesn’t matter if it is a window or central air conditioner unit. Take a few minutes to check some things before turning on the cooling power of the air conditioner.
Whether it is a window unit or the central air unit that is close to an outside wall of the house, take a good look to see if there is any visible physical damage. Some minor flattening of the aluminum fins that cover the coils is not a problem. If there are large sections of the fins that are flattened, it will prevent air from flowing over the fins thus diminishing performance. A professional should be called on to straighten flattened fins. Look for any plant or animal debris blocking moving parts. A twig could block the fan of a central air unit from turning. Be sure to inspect carefully. Spiders, wasps, bees and hornets may have taken up residence.
Inspect power cables for damage. Outdoor units may have damage caused by rotary trimmers. Indoor units may have a plug or cord damaged by furniture, pets or a vacuum cleaner. Don’t just fix a damaged cord or cable. Have it replaced. Air conditioning units use lots of power to run. A damaged cord or cable can overheat and cause a fire.
Clean The Unit and Filters
Outdoor units can be cleaned with a garden hose and some detergent. Avoid using a pressure washer because the high pressure might actually break sensitive parts or inject water into sealed housings. Window units can be wiped down. Use a vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment to very gently clean the aluminum fins of dust and debris. The fins bend very easily. Clean or replace the filter of the indoor unit before turning it on. If a musty odor is present, a light spray of Lysol brand disinfectant on the metal coils may help.
It is easy to tell if the AC unit is working once it starts putting out cold air. Window units that have just been plugged in have a safety feature that will prevent the compressor from turning on until it runs for at least two full minutes. The feature protects the compressor if the power should cycle on and off abruptly. When either a window unit or central air system is turned on, it should sound the same as it did last year. Any rattling or grinding sounds will indicate a problem. A slight whistle or squeak that rapidly dissipates usually is just a bit of rust on the shaft of the fan motor. If it persists, the unit should be shut off and a professional should be called.