How to Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Is Working Before the Summer

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.

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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!

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Start Spring Cleaning with an HVAC Conditioning Check!

Earlier this year, we dropped quite a bit of money on a very large home purchase. A very large home purchase that will keep my pregnant-with-twins-in-the-heat-of-summer self COOL. Can you guess what we purchased?

That’s right – a beautiful shiny brand new air conditioner! 

Cooling tower close up shot

Now, here in Florida, an air conditioner is definitely a necessity. In Florida, we’re reaching the 90’s already, and it doesn’t take much to start feeling pretty durn HOT. And this year, I told my husband that a new air conditioner was just as much an investment in HIS happiness as it was in mine…you ladies understand how that works!

So, out came the 14-year-old air conditioning unit (that really wasn’t even big enough to efficiently cool the square footage of our home) and in went a bigger and better system. I can testify that it’s already SO much better – I can now stand over my stove and cook scrumptious things while feeling the AC blow on the back of my neck. It’s heaven, I tell you, pregnant or not!

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Making Life Easier…with a Programmable Thermostat

Here in Florida, we deal with all kinds of weather. And it’s pretty typical for Monday to be 50 degrees and sunny, and Tuesday to be 80 degrees and pouring rain. So, from one day to the next, you never really know what you’re gonna get on the thermostat. Which means that there are days when our air conditioner doesn’t run at all. And there are days when it does nothing BUT run, poor thing.

When we moved into this house, my hubby did lots of research on the air conditioning unit – things like what to keep it set on to make sure we stayed energy efficient, and when it should be serviced, and how often the filter would need changing. The typical stuff.

But not long after, we had a small issue with it, and called our local AC service folks out. After the issue was corrected, they recommended a programmable thermostat, to which my husband quickly agreed. If it’s a new gadget or techie item, he’s all about it!

Programmable thermostats are a newer innovation for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems that allow for finer control of indoor temperatures than ever before. These thermostats engage at certain times of the day, letting you cut energy costs the rest of the time. Using one effectively requires some thought about how to set it up. Below, you’ll find some tips on using your programmable thermostat as effectively as possible.

Programmable Thermostat

On Versus Auto

Many people just turn their HVAC on without paying attention to the thermostat settings, and that is a mistake. Most thermostats have two major settings, “on” or “auto.” Turning your system to “on” leaves the fan operating constantly. This keeps the air quality in your home high by constantly bringing in outside air, but does so at the cost of increased energy bills and air filters which are constantly exposed to dirt, clogging them much quicker. Set to auto, your fan turns on instead when a temperature threshold passes, saving energy but doing little to help air freshness.

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