Summer is here, and you're probably already using your air conditioner. However, there are plenty of hot days left, so it's important to make sure your AC unit is working as efficiently as possible. Here's a look at the signs that your AC unit needs a summer tune-up – as well as some advice for carrying out that tune-up.
Signs Your AC Needs a Tune-Up
- Your energy bills have gone up. Compare last year's energy bills to this year's. If this year's are higher and you haven't made any other big changes to your home, then chances are, your AC unit is operating inefficiently and needs to be tuned up.
- Your home is not cooling effectively. If the AC just doesn't seem to be keeping your home as cool as it should (though it is working), this could be a sign that something is not quite right.
- Ice is accumulating on the unit. If this is happening, it may not be long until the unit freezes over completely. It's important to have your AC tuned up promptly.
Tuning Up Your AC Unit
The best thing to do is hire an HVAC contractor to come inspect your unit and adjust anything that needs adjusting. While they are there, they can do things like change the filter and clean the coils for you. However, if having an HVAC technician out is not an option for whatever reason, you can do some basic tune-up tasks yourself.
Change the filter.
A dirty filter is the source of so many AC issues, from inefficiency to freezing over. Pull the old filter out, take it to the hardware store to ensure you buy the right size, and slide a new one into its place. While the standard fiberglass filters are okay, upgrading to a HEPA filter will keep your home's air cleaner throughout the summer.
Clean the coils.
Dirty coils can also lead to inefficiency. If your filter had not been changed in a long time, chances are your coils are dirty, too. You can purchase coil cleaner at most home improvement stores. Spray it on the coils, let it work for the recommended time, and then rinse it away.
Look over the wiring.
Take a close look at any wires you see leading in or out of your AC unit. If any of them appear frayed, loose, or worn, you'll need to call an electrician or HVAC technician out to make repairs. Fiddling with electrical wires yourself can be dangerous.
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