In most homes, the air conditioner isn’t used during the winter months. As you prepare to turn your AC back on to battle the summer heat, make sure your AC unit is in good working order. A properly working AC unit helps save on energy costs and keeps your home cooler.

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit may extend the life of the equipment, improve air quality in your home and work more efficient. Follow our handy spring checklist for AC maintenance based on the recommendations from the U.S. Energy Department.

Replace the Air Filter

Replacing your AC air filter every one to two months during the warmer seasons will reduce your energy usage by 5% to 15%. Start by scheduling a time each month to inspect your air filter. This ensures you won’t forget. Another easy tip is to write the date you installed the air filter on the edge of the filter so that you have a quick reminder of the date it was last changed.

To determine if your air conditioner filter needs to be cleaned or replaced, hold the air filter up to the light. If light can’t pass through, it needs to be cleaned or replaced. For newer AC units, the unit automatically shuts down if the air filter becomes too clogged. If you find that your AC will not turn on, you should first check the air filter quality.

Clean Outdoor AC Condenser Unit

Over the winter, the outdoor AC condenser unit builds up grime and debris. Before you turn on your AC unit this spring, clean the outdoor condenser unit. For safety, shut off the power source to the AC unit before you start. The power source is usually located near the condenser unit; however, power can also be shut off from the breaker box.

Start by trimming limbs and shrubs near the AC unit. A good rule of thumb is to allow for a two-foot clearance. Remove any large limbs or debris from the unit then use a shop vacuum to clean away smaller pieces of dirt and grime. The goal is to clear off as much loose dirt as possible. Once all of the dust and dirt is cleared off, use your garden hose to wash the AC unit.

Next, inspect the fins on the AC condenser unit. Bent fins may block airflow and decrease your unit’s efficiency. For smaller bends in the fins, use a fin comb to get them back in shape. If you have large amounts of damage to the fins, contact the experts at J&W Heating and Air + Plumbing to schedule a repair.

Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks in your home lead to reduced energy efficiency. One way to confirm a suspected air leak is simply by holding a thin sheet of paper near the suspected leak location. If the paper ripples with movement, then you know that unwanted air is moving through the area.

Use caulk or foam to seal the air leak. For smaller gaps, apply weatherproof caulk to seal the leak, and for larger gaps, use an expandable foam spray. Contact an HVAC professional to check for air leaks in the duct system. Sealing air leaks in your home is a great way to improve energy efficiency and keep your home at the desired temperature.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Half of your annual energy usage goes to heating and cooling your home. Upgrading your thermostat is a smart investment that can save you up to $180 on your energy bill over the course of a year.

Smart and programmable thermostats are available in many different brands and price ranges. From simple programmable features to smartphone functionality, you can now better manage the temperature in your home. This spring, save money on your energy bill by upgrading your old, non-programmable thermostat.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Regular professional HVAC maintenance helps to keep your AC unit working properly to save you money in the long run. At J&W Heating and Air + Plumbing, we offer our clients two preventative maintenance plans that include automatic scheduling for your convenience.

A professional technician will inspect, clean, and identify needed AC repairs. Unlike your spring checklist items that focus on external cleaning and repairs, an expert technician will also inspect the inside of your system to ensure it is ready to cool your home properly.

Benefits of Regular AC Maintenance

Maintaining your AC unit regularly helps extend the life of your equipment, improves energy efficiency, and better regulates the temperature in your home. Follow our handy spring checklist to prepare your home AC unit for summer.

Contact the experts at J&W Heating and Air + Plumbing to schedule your HVAC maintenance. Sign up for either our Silver or Platinum Preventative Plans to save time and money on your bi-annual HVAC maintenance.

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