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Air Conditioners Checklist for Optimal Performance

When the warm weather begins to settle in your area, you're going to want your air conditioner to be performing at optimal levels for your own comfort and safety.

When the warm weather begins to settle in your area, you’re going to want your air conditioner to be performing at optimal levels for your own comfort and safety. Before turning your air conditioning unit on for the first time, you should go through this brief checklist of important items to address any issues that may hinder its performance.

  1. Air Filter

Window air conditioning units are exempt from this item on the checklist, but if you’re lucky enough to own an HVAC system with a central heating and cooling unit, you will want to pay special attention to this particular maintenance item. Air filters play an important role in the health of your family by filtering the air that’s brought in by your air conditioning system. They remove dirt, dust, and pollen that might cause you and your family discomfort. Before you turn on the central air unit of your HVAC system, replace the air filter to ensure that your air conditioning unit is blowing clean, filtered air into your home.

  1. Air Leaks

Having an air leak in or around your air conditioning unit will not only cause you discomfort due to the lack of cool air being put into your home but it will also cost you extra money on your monthly energy bill. Window air conditioning units are notorious for having air leaks due to the unstable nature of installing an air conditioning unit in a window. The most common areas for air leaks in a window unit is the seal between the window, window frame, and the unit itself. To test for air leaks, light a stick of incense and hold it against the seal between the unit and the window. If the smoke gets blown in any direction, there’s a leak. Foam, such as cut portions of pool noodles or foam pipe insulation, can be shoved into the leaks of the window unit.

The air ducts for your central air conditioner can also form leaks. To check for leaks in your air ducts, use the same trick as the window unit. A lit stick of incense should be held near the duct connections. If the smoke is blown around, a leak is present. Foil tape can be used to cover and plug the leaks in the connections of your ductwork.

  1. Servicing the Condenser

The condenser of your outside air conditioning unit can become caked with dirt, pollen, and other filth. Due to the fact that it sits outside all year round, there are various types of debris that can stick to the grating of the condenser and create blockages. If your air conditioner condenser cannot pull in a sufficient amount of air, its efficiency will drop. It can also cause the compressor to work harder than it needs to while trying to pull in the correct amount of air through clogs and blockages. This can lead to high energy bills, reduced cooling, or even damages to the internal mechanisms of your unit. Once a year, preferably in the spring, you should spend an hour servicing the condenser of your outside unit by cleaning it of dirt and removing any debris that might be stuck in the grating.