With spring just around the corner, we’re getting even closer to the time when the air conditioner puts in its first day of work, all in an effort to keep the house cool and comfortable. Like any seasonal change in Oregon, it seems like the first hot day arrives unexpectedly. When it does, we usually just turn on the central air without thinking anything of it. Most of the time, it activates normally and gets to work.
Important Things to Know Before Turning On Your AC for the First Time
Sometimes, though, problems have developed during the winter, and we end up with an unpleasant surprise that can leave us sweltering for a couple of days. If you’ve ever experienced an early heat wave without the benefit of air conditioning, you know just how miserable it can be. You also want to know what it takes to avoid that problem, so here are some tips for checking out your air conditioner before you flip the thermostat from "heat" to "cool".
Check the Outdoor Component
Air circulation is key to making the heat pump work properly, so spend some time checking out the unit. Be sure that it’s not filled with leaves or other debris. Any obstruction to airflow can put excess strain on the compressor, shortening its overall lifespan. There may even be plants that have grown into the system in the fall, so clear away anything that’s in the way of airflow before turning the system on.
Examine Coolant Lines
The refrigerant in your air conditioner is essential. If the gas escapes during the off-season, the system can work all day long without producing the first puff of cold air. Before you turn it on for the first time, take some time to inspect visible coolant lines for cracks or holes, and check connections to make sure nothing loose. They could have suffered damage from accumulated snowfall, wildlife or pets, or human activities. Even the tiniest pinhole will allow refrigerant to leak off slowly. Any signs of damage will call for a visit from Ponderosa Heating & Cooling.
Check Visible Wires
It’s important to remember that your air conditioner is an electrical system. Any interruption to the distribution of electricity to the unit will render the whole system inoperable. For that reason, you should examine any visible wires for signs of wear. If you find anything suspicious, turn off the power to the unit and contact us to get a good inspection of everything. Be sure to steer clear of any exposed connections, and don’t remove cover panels or screws. Just check out the visible wiring and be alert to anything that looks unusual.
Change your Filters
You’re probably doing this all year, but it’s always a good idea to check filters. Clean filters reduce strain on the system, lowering energy costs and extending the life of expensive system components. New filters also capture allergens, getting them out of the air that you and your family are breathing every single day. With the Willamette National Forest covering so much of central Oregon, there is no shortage of pollen in the air!
If you want your air conditioning to treat you right, you have to treat it right first! A well-maintained air conditioner will provide clean, comfortable air to your family all through the summer and avoid preventable breakdowns and needlessly high energy bills.
We’re here to help you make your system as efficient, effective, and affordable as it can be! Before summer arrives, contact Ponderosa Heating & Cooling at (541) 204-2775. We’ll schedule a time to pay you a visit and do a complete inspection of your entire air conditioning system to get you ready for summer.