Living in Central Florida, Air Conditioning is a BIG deal for us! I mean, it was a big deal before, but now it’s an even BIGGER deal since we have two toddlers running around. Because, in case you weren’t aware, when a toddler gets overheated, it makes for a VERY CRANKY ATTITUDE.
So when we bought our current home, we were happy to know that the air conditioner passed the inspection and there were no issues. Fast forward to Easter weekend this year, when we had to have a new unit installed after the compressor blew up. Even though we knew it had to be done, it was still a kick in the gut to bite the bullet and pay for it!
So when James Memije, the co-owner at AccuServ Heating and Air Conditioning in Toronto, Ontario, Canada contacted me about sharing a post here on air conditioning maintenance, I was all about it! He’s got some great tips to share – keep on reading!How to Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Is Working Before the Summer! #airconditioning #summerheat Click To Tweet
So we’ve just about “hit” summer. We haven’t had too much hot weather yet, but there was the occasional heat spike during the spring that has you worried your AC won’t be able to keep up during the hot days of July and August.
A battle planned is already a battle half won, and preparation here is key. Being proactive and checking your air conditioner will give you the peace of mind that it’s ready for the onslaught of high temperatures. So how exactly do you know if your AC is ready?
Turn it On
One simple test you can do yourself is just to try turning it on. Many homeowners don’t realize their AC isn’t even working until there’s sweat on their foreheads. They flip the switch and then… nothing! Giving it a test run during cooler temperatures (not too cool or you’ll damage the system, above 60°F is ideal) will help you detect a dead AC unit early and make the fix before the real heat moves in.
Superheat and Subcool
Now that you’ve completed this basic test, more in-depth tests will have to be conducted by a trained air conditioner professional. These tests will give you a better picture of the AC’s overall health.
One of the first tests an AC technician will perform is a “Superheat and Subcool” calculation. No, these are not comic book heroes, even though names sound perfect for the next Marvel movie. In a nutshell, these calculations allow the technician to confirm the AC is operating at the correct pressures and temperatures. If any of these numbers are off, you may have developed a refrigerant leak, blockage or another refrigerant flow issue.
Without this test, your AC may slowly be failing, which you won’t realize till the hot weather hits!
Clean the Coils
Unknown to most homeowners, the AC is comprised of two coils — one indoor and one outdoor. Most homeowners see the one outside, but are not aware of the one inside that sits above the furnace. Both these coils can accumulate dirt that will begin restricting air that is trying to pass through.
Your AC needs to breathe — dirt buildup will cause the air conditioner to work harder as it tries to compensate for the lack of airflow. Eventually, enough dirt buildup will cause your AC to fail altogether. A technician can clean out the outdoor coil and inspect the indoor coil for dirt accumulation, ensuring good airflow before the summer months.
Finally, another important test a technician can perform is a “Delta-T” test. That’s just a fancy way of saying they will test the temperature difference between the return air temperature and supply air temperature. Ideally, this measurement should be 20°F.
However, if your Delta-T is off, you may be dealing with an air restriction like a clogged indoor coil, incorrectly sized ductwork or incorrect blower settings. You may not notice incorrect Delta-T during cooler temperatures, but the problems become very pronounced once the intense heat hits. Ensuring you have the right Delta-T will ensure proper cool air delivery throughout your home.
Being caught in the middle of a heatwave with a broken AC unit sucks. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take the time now to have a competent air conditioning technician perform these tests to ensure your AC is ready for summer!
James Memije is the co-owner of AccuServ Heating and Air Conditioning. He has extensive knowledge in hydronics and forced air systems and is a Licensed Gas Fitter with several certifications including heat load calculation and air duct design.
Thanks so much for this great info, James!
How about you? Do you have air conditioning at your house? Do you have a plan to keep up with maintenance and make sure you stay cool all summer?
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!