Prepare Your Air Conditioner For The Fall With These Care Tips

Posted on: 1 September 2017

With hot summer temperatures giving way to cooler fall weather, there's a good chance you're winding down your air conditioner usage. That gives you the perfect opportunity to get it ready for the upcoming fall and winter months. Following these A/C maintenance tips will ensure that your A/C system stays in great shape throughout the fall and winter. You'll also have peace of mind that your A/C system will be ready for action next year.

Install a Fresh Air Filter

If you haven't changed your air conditioner's air filter yet, now's a good time to do just that. Leaving a dirty air filter inside your A/C system not only allows dust and debris to accumulate inside, but it could also set the stage for rampant mold and mildew growth. If you want to keep your A/C system clean throughout the fall and winter, then you'll need to swap your old air filter for a fresh replacement.

Remove Debris from the Condenser Cabinet

Fallen leaves, twigs, and grass clippings can get caught inside the outdoor condenser cabinet, restricting the cabinet's airflow while providing a habitat for bugs and small animals. You should use a heavy-duty shop vacuum to suck up as much dirt, grass, and other debris as possible from within the condenser cabinet. As for the condenser coil, you can simply break out the garden hose and rinse away as much dust and dirt from the coil as possible.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

There's also a good chance the evaporator coil, located within your air conditioner's air handler cabinet, could also use a good cleaning. Use a soft-bristle brush and a solution of warm water and mild detergent to carefully scrub away dust and debris.

Cleaning the evaporator coil will help prevent mold, mildew, and algae from growing on the coil and other surfaces throughout the fall and winter, and it'll ensure your A/C system operates at 100 percent efficiency once it's restarted.

Check and Replace the Insulation

There's usually one or more exposed pipes running from the outdoor condenser cabinet. These pipes are usually wrapped with foam insulation to prevent freezing in cold weather. It's not unusual for this insulation to deteriorate and fall apart over time, so it's a good idea to check the insulation and replace it as needed.

All you have to do is cut away portions of the old or damaged insulation, cut the new insulation to the right length, and wrap it around the affected pipe. If the new insulation isn't backed with its own adhesive, you'll need to use electrical tape to hold the insulation to the pipe.

Check Your Thermostat

Another thing you should do to prepare your A/C system for the upcoming fall and winter is check your thermostat. A faulty thermostat can cause a wide range of problems not just for your air conditioner, but also for your furnace.

  1. Make sure the control panel is in good physical condition. Look out for any missing buttons or broken slider controls.
  2. Check the wiring and look out for any exposed, burnt or corroded wires. Make sure the circuit breaker is turned off while this is going on.
  3. Make sure the thermostat is able to call for heat and cooling. If the HVAC system fails to respond when using regular controls, you'll need to send a direct signal in order to rule out a thermostat malfunction.

Schedule a Professional Check-Up

Having a seasoned HVAC professional check your air conditioning system may seem unnecessary, but there's a good reason why you should have your technician look over your unit. Your HVAC technician will be able to check areas of your A/C system you may not have the tools or expertise to check. For instance, your technician will have the right tools to check and recharge your A/C refrigerant.