The first day of spring may be March 20, but when you live as far north as we do, true spring arrives somewhat later.
At last, our warm season is approaching, and with it a shifting focus from heating to cooling.
Meanwhile, your air conditioner has enjoyed a long and uninterrupted sabbatical and it may not be quite so keen to wake up and get back to work.
This is especially the case if you have a midlife or older A/C that spent the winter pondering retirement. In this post, we touch on our top tips to wake up your air conditioner, make sure it is running safely and put it back to work!
Safety Issues That Can Affect Your A/C Over the Winter
These common safety issues can crop up during the winter season and lie dormant until they surprise you when you go to turn on your air conditioner in the spring.
Dirty air filter
A dirty air filter is the number one safety issue we see when our technicians arrive to service A/C units in early spring.
There is no doubt it is easy to forget all about changing your furnace filter. But the dirtier it gets, the more risk you bear of some of that debris dislodging and getting sucked into the internal components of the A/C.
When this happens, you have two safety issues: fire risk and indoor air contamination.
The outdoor component of your A/C unit faces some tough weather over the winter. But at least you don’t have to worry about overgrown foliage!
Come spring, however, everything gets busy blooming and growing and this is prime time to see foliage creeping into and around your condenser, creating a fire risk and a blockage risk.
Blocked exhaust vents
If you were a shivering rodent or insect colony, you might think your warm and cozy exhaust vents look like a pretty great winter hideaway. In spring, those same vents start to look like excellent concealed nesting sites for birds and small animals.
It is important to regularly monitor your exhaust vents to be sure they are free of blockage and debris that could cause indoor air toxicity and fire risk.
Clogged air ducts and air registers
Pest removal companies can get pretty busy during the winter season with calls to remove unwelcome visitors from attics, crawlspaces and ducts. In the same way, insects and mould spores can make their way inside air ducts and registers and set up shop.
As your network of indoor air ducts becomes dirty and clogged, your indoor air becomes more toxic and your A/C unit draws more power to push air through the blockages.
Winter can be hard on window and duct seals and other weatherproofing as well. Leaky seals can admit pollen, insects and toxins as well as make your A/C work harder in spring to cool your home.
Overheated thermostat sensor
If you have done any renovations over the winter, it is important to check and make sure nothing hot is influencing the A/C thermostat sensor.
Entertainment centers, lightbulbs, sun streaming through a window – all can deliver false information to your thermostat, driving up your energy bill and making you uncomfortable to boot!
Run Your A/C and Save Money With Preventative Maintenance
The number one reason most customers are unhappy with the performance of their A/C unit is neglected preventative maintenance.
On the front end, we realize that scheduling a safety inspection and preventative maintenance service for your air conditioner can look like spending money, not saving money.
But on the back end, our customers who take the time to schedule this important service not only enjoy peace of mind through the summer season but also pay less in energy costs and repair fees.
From irritating bangs and clangs to uneven room temperatures and allergy symptoms, preventative maintenance addresses the small stuff that goes wrong inside your A/C before it becomes big, expensive stuff.
During your preventative maintenance service and safety inspection, your Shipton’s HVAC technician will attend to each of the following:
- Check and clean or replace your air filter.
- Check and test your thermostat to ensure temperature accuracy.
- Check and clean the interior and outside components of the A/C unit.
- Check air flow from the A/C through the ducts and adjust as needed.
- Check all wiring, including electrical connectors and sensors.
- Check the energy draw on your blower motor and clean the motor.
- Check the refrigerate condensate hose and drain for leaks or low refrigerant.
- Check, test and lubricate relevant parts.
- Check overall operation.
- Offer recommendations for small repairs to improve operation and efficiency.
Depending on the size and complexity of your air conditioner, the whole service generally takes less than two hours. Once completed, you can feel at ease knowing you won’t be spending more to run your air conditioner than is necessary to achieve your desired cooling.
Whether your air conditioner is new or getting on in years, you may want to consider signing up for one of our money-saving protection plans to help control unexpected repair costs.
Other Tips to Lower A/C Operation Costs
Just changing (or cleaning and replacing) your air filter each month can save you up to 15 percent on cooling costs.
A programmable thermostat can save you up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs year-round.
Use your ceiling or floor fans to circulate cooled air so you can raise your thermostat. With the help of fans, most people easily tolerate a hike of up to four degrees.
Seal and insulate your air duct system to trim up to 30 percent on your energy bill.