The arrival of spring means more than just warmer weather outdoors. It also means a mission change for your HVAC system. As winter comes to a close, you should have your HVAC system ready to switch from heating to cooling with as little drama as possible. Here are a few ways you can ready your HVAC unit so the switchover goes without a hitch.
Inspect the Outdoor Cabinet
Dead leaves, small branches and other yard debris can pile up around the bottom of your HVAC system's outdoor cabinet, preventing air from flowing through the cabinet. Remove any and all debris you find around the cabinet. Trim back any tall grasses or weeds growing near the unit and make sure shrubs and other foliage are kept at least two feet away from the cabinet on all sides.
Make sure power to the HVAC unit is completely shut off and take a look inside the outdoor cabinet. Remove any debris found inside the cabinet. If the condenser coil appears dirty, give the coil a good rinsing with a garden hose and give it time to dry.
Clean the Air Vents
Check the air vents throughout your home and make sure they're not packed with dust and debris. Heavy dust and debris buildup keeps your HVAC system from delivering cool, conditioned air where it's needed. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and an extension hose to remove as much debris as possible.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty evaporator coil can impact your HVAC system's performance. If possible, open the HVAC air handler and check the evaporator coil for dust and dirt buildup. Also check for signs of mold, mildew or algae buildup. Carefully clean the evaporator coil using mild detergent and a brush with soft bristles and rinse it thoroughly afterwards.
Check the Condensate Drainage
HVAC systems create condensate as a byproduct of the air conditioning process. The condensate drips into a catch pan below the evaporator coil, where it collects and eventually travels through a drainage line into another drain or straight outdoors.
Check the catch pan for cracks or rust spots that could let water leak through. If the pan is damaged, you'll need to have it replaced. Remove all debris from the catch pan and drainage lines. Use diluted white vinegar to disinfect the drain lines and prevent mold and algae growth.
Test Your HVAC System
Give your HVAC unit a test run to make sure it's able to cool your home properly. A trial run will give you a preview of your HVAC system's seasonal performance. If you run into any issues, you'll have plenty of time to address them before the start of the season.
Check the thermostat and make sure it's able to call for cooling. You should hear the compressor kick into action shortly after setting the thermostat to "cool" and adjusting temperatures accordingly. If the compressor fails to cycle on, have a seasoned professional take a closer look at your HVAC system.
If you haven't switched to a programmable thermostat yet, now's the time to consider a replacement. A programmable thermostat allows you to use pre-programmed temperature settings to keep your home cool without wasting energy. When used properly, a programmable thermostat offers a modest reduction of your annual energy costs.
Don't Forget to Replace the Air Filter
Many problems that occur with HVAC systems are often caused by a clogged air filter. An air filter that's caked with dust and debris will prevent air from flowing through the HVAC system. This blockage not only causes poor performance, but it also causes various HVAC components to wear out prematurely.
Before the start of the cooling season, swap your current air filter for a fresh replacement. HVAC air filters should be replaced every three months. Monthly air filter replacements can help combat severe allergies, control pet dander and improve indoor air quality.
Prepping your HVAC system for spring right now means you won't have to worry about it later. Contact us today at Covington Air Systems Inc. and discover more pre-season preparation tips for yourself.