With summer just around the corner, we’re nearing your air conditioner’s first day of work, all in an effort to keep your 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 about it. Most of the time, it activates normally and gets to work.
Sometimes, though, problems have developed over the winter months, and we end up living with the sweltering heat as we scramble to schedule AC repairs. If you’ve ever experienced an early heat wave without the benefit of air conditioning, you know just how miserable it can be.
When Should You Turn Your Air Conditioner On?
Most people assume they can wait to turn on their AC on the first hot day of the year. But waiting this long means you may miss problems that have developed over the winter months. Most HVAC technicians recommend you turn on your AC in the spring when you know you’ll be home for the day. This will give you a chance to test your HVAC system and catch any problems that require repairs.
Better yet, schedule an air conditioning maintenance appointment! During this appointment, a certified HVAC technician comes out to your home, looks over your entire system, changes your air filter, and makes recommendations for cooling repairs. This service is quick and easy, and it ensures your system will be up to the task of keeping your home cool all summer long.
Important Things to Know Before Turning On Your AC for the First Time
Here are the four most important things to check before flipping the switch on your thermostat from “heat” to “cool”.
Check the Outdoor Component
Air circulation is key for your heat pump to work properly, so spend some time checking over your outdoor unit. Be sure that it’s not filled with leaves or other debris. There may even be plants that have grown into the system in the fall. Any obstruction to airflow can put a strain on the compressor, shortening its overall lifespan, so be sure to clear away anything that’s blocking airflow before turning your system on.
Examine Coolant Lines
The refrigerant in your AC system is essential to its operation. If it leaks out during the off-season, your system can work all day long without producing any cold air. Before you turn on your system for the season, take some time to inspect coolant lines for cracks or holes, and check connections to make sure nothing is loose.
They could have suffered damage from water damage, wildlife, 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 an HVAC company.
Check Visible Wires
It’s important to remember that your AC unit is an electrical system. If the flow of electricity is disrupted, your whole system may stop working. For that reason, you should examine all visible wires for signs of wear.
If you find anything suspicious, turn off the power to the unit and contact your HVAC company for a system inspection. 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
Changing your air conditioner’s air filter is the easiest way to lower energy costs and extend the life of your system.
High-quality filters also capture allergens, removing them from the air that you and your family breathe each day. With the Willamette National Forest covering so much of Central Oregon, there is no shortage of pollen in the air!
Most HVAC experts recommend you change the air filter before you start up your AC for the season and every 3 months while it’s in use.
How to Turn on an Air Conditioner
Once you’ve examined your cooling system and changed your air filter, you may be wondering how you actually turn on your air conditioner.
For most central air systems, the process is simple. Simply move the switch on your thermostat from “Heat” to “Cool”. If your system was off entirely, you may need to move the switch from “Off” to “Cool” instead.
Once you turn your system on, be sure to close any open windows to conserve energy. Additionally, if you have a programmable thermostat, you should set a cooling schedule to save energy while you’re away from the house.
If your system doesn’t start up right away, it’s likely because the temperature is set to something higher than what’s in the room. Turn the thermostat to 5 degrees below the indoor temperature and wait a few minutes to ensure your system is working properly.
Schedule AC Maintenance Near Bend, OR
If you want your air conditioner to treat you right, you have to treat it right first! A well-maintained air conditioner will provide clean, comfortable air while saving you money and avoiding preventable breakdowns.
Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical is here to help you make your system as efficient, effective, and affordable as it can be! Before summer arrives, contact our team at 541-549-1605 to schedule your annual AC maintenance appointment.