With summer at an end, your home's air-conditioning system can finally get the break it deserves. If you're not planning on using your A/C system anytime soon, then it pays to have it well-protected against the slings and arrows of the fall and winter months. Here are a few tips you can use to prepare your A/C system this fall.
Charge It Up
It's a good idea to have your HVAC technician come in and check the A/C system's refrigerant charge. In addition to lost cooling performance, running your A/C system with a low refrigerant charge can have other, more dire consequences for your unit. Not only would the unit become prone to heavy frost buildup, but too little refrigerant in the A/C system can cause the compressor to burn out.
Contrary to popular belief, the refrigeration process does not consume refrigerant—the A/C system merely circulates refrigerant as it changes into its liquid and vapor forms throughout the process. The only time your unit loses refrigerant is when there's a leak somewhere within the system. Your HVAC technician has the tools and expertise to track down and fix these refrigerant leaks.
Clean It Out
Cleaning the evaporator coil is another step you can take to prepare your A/C system for the months ahead. Throughout the summer, the evaporator coil has likely accumulated a large amount of dust and debris, which could get in the way of efficient operation over time. Cleaning the evaporator coil also helps remove mold and mildew growth that often occurs in the dark and damp confines of the air-conditioner plenum.
Although there are several ways you can clean your evaporator coil, the best way involves the use of a foaming solution that cleans the coil and rinses things away without the need for direct physical contact. Afterwards, you should also drain, clean, and disinfect the condensate drip tray as well as clean out the condensate drain.
Cover It Up
Covering your central A/C system during the fall months can help keep falling leaves and other debris out of it. This could also reduce the amount of prep work that's needed to get your A/C unit back into action come spring.
When it comes to covering your A/C system, there are two methods you can use.
The simplest method involves placing a wide piece of plywood over the condenser-fan outlet located on top of the outdoor cabinet. This will prevent leaves, debris, and snowfall from falling into the cabinet. You'll need to weigh the plywood slab down with a few bricks or cinder blocks to prevent the wind from blowing it away.
The alternative involves placing a mesh cover over the outdoor cabinet. A mesh cover might not keep snow out of the unit, but it will keep leaves, twigs, and other debris out. Using a mesh cover instead of an ordinary tarp also prevents condensation, plus it keeps the unit from being hospitable enough for rodents and other small animals to nest inside.
Replace Your Air Filter
It's amazing how many homeowners forget to perform this quick and easy task. Leaving an old, dirty air filter in place not only prevents the HVAC system from getting the proper airflow it needs to operate efficiently but also allows dust and debris to migrate throughout the air ducts. Swapping out the old filter for a new, clean filter can prevent these issues from happening.
Most experts recommend changing out the air filter at least once every three months, especially if you use an alternative form of heat that doesn't rely on a centralized furnace (such as a radiator or baseboard heating). If you're using a packaged central heating and cooling system, then you'll want to change the air filter on a monthly basis.
Talk to a company such as A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for more information.