After a long cold winter, warm days sound delightful. Warn air and sunshine, we crave the warmth. Until summer hits and it goes from warm to downright hot. 

Then you better ready and have done your “home” work so you can withstand those hot days of summer.

One thing on the home to do list is home AC unit cleaning. Let’s face it, there are few things worse than getting that first really hot day and flipping on your air conditioner. Then you find it’s not working or ready to do its summer job. 

Take a look at these steps to get your AC summer ready.

Understanding More About Your Air Conditioner

Before you can know how to best prep your air conditioning unit for summer, you have to understand some things about its basic parts.

Your AC unit has two main components to it. Typically found inside connected to your furnace unit is the evaporator unit. The evaporator coil takes in the warm air from your house for cooling. 

The other is found outside called the condenser unit. This unit contains both the condenser and the compressor.

The condenser works to compress the refrigerant vapor and push it through the coils where the hot air can be removed. The cool air is moved back through the system to eventually cool the house interior. 

The compressor circulates the refrigerant so heat can be exchanged in the coils. It also helps the refrigerant to have energy. 

Beyond basic cleaning, AC units should be looked at by HVAC professional service pros. Learn more about your AC unit and how to keep it working in tip-top shape by contacting an HVAC professional.

Filter Replacement

One of the simplest things you can do for both your AC unit and your furnace is to replace the filters twice a year or whenever they look dusty.

These filters are located in the furnace or air-handler cabinet of the indoor unit. Filters can be reusable by cleaning them, however many just need to have a replacement filter put in. 

This step of central air cleaning will help your unit run much more efficiently. It also prevents you from circulating dust collected in the filter throughout your home.

Condenser Coils

The condenser unit, usually located outside, is a large metal box. It has what looks like a large fan on top and the sides are grille like. 

If your unit remained uncovered through the winter, one important step is to remove any debris, leaves, sticks, dirt, from the fan blades and grate covering those blades. 

Another thing to consider for how to clean the air unit is to turn off the power. Use a garden hose to spray it down and get it clean. Removing any dirt particles helps to keep the unit running efficiently.

Cleaning Up the Fins

The fins that are part of the outdoor unit will often collect dirt and other debris from the winter. The fins are made of thin metal so approach this task with care. 

Take a garden hose, once the power is turned off, and carefully spray down those fins. The water pressure from the hose will help to get out dirt and debris caught in between the fine fins.

Another option is to take a soft brush and wipe the fins down. You want to be careful to avoid bending them as this could decrease efficiency.

Remove Debris

This is a simple yet important step in summer air conditioning cleaning. Mow down grass or pull out any weeds growing near the unit. 

If any leaves have gathered around the unit’s base, remove those. Make sure there are no plants growing too near the unit that might prevent it from getting proper circulation.

Coolant Lines

Check any of the lines running from the indoor evaporator to the outdoor condenser unit. 

The coolant lines are usually wrapped with foam insulation. Check to make sure those have not deteriorated or ripped away during the winter months. Replace the insulation wrapping any place that does not cover the coolant lines well. 

Indoor Components to Effective Working AC

One important thing to look at is the ductwork inside your home. Any leaks in ductwork mean loss of cool air and less energy efficiency. Losing only 20% of the cool air seeping through the ducts can mean your air conditioner will have to work at least 50% more. 

Look for any places where ducts have openings, have come apart or have small holes. Sealing this up will greatly improve the efficiency of your AC unit.

It is recommended to use duct mastic over duct tape. Duct tape might be faster and easier, but will not last as long. If you choose duct tape, be sure to select one that has the Underwriters Laboratory logo so you are getting the best product for the job.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat

Another thing to consider when helping out your AC unit for summer is your thermostat. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, you should. 

A programmable thermostat helps to regulate when your AC unit (or furnace) are running. You can set them to hold a certain temperature when you are home. Then when you are gone or sleeping, set for temperature so the unit will not have to run as often. 

Programmable thermostats are relatively easy to install yourself with only a few simple tools. Some estimates say a programmable thermostat can save between 10-30% of energy. 

Home AC Unit Cleaning

Get ready to enjoy the summer and the heat that comes with it. While you might want to get outside and enjoy the warm air and sunshine, it’s also nice to come into a cool air-conditioned home. 

Do your home AC unit cleaning before the weather gets too hot, so your unit is ready to go for the summer heat. 

Take a look at the Home Improvement tab on our website for other home project ideas.