Beat the heat

The air conditioner pad is slightly slanted likely to erosion or substandard pad preparation.  As a result, the unit has been operating on a tilt. This condition may affect the operation of the unit and its components. Photo: Contributed – (Photo: Hugh Cairns)

Hugh Cairns: Beat the heat

I’m sure you’ll agree that the sun has some strength to it now as things are warming up. That means that you’ll be calling on your air conditioning system soon to keep you comfortable indoors. Now is a great time to uncover and test your air conditioner for proper operation.

For most of us, air conditioners are a great convenience and we take them for granted until they stop working. We just flip the switch, set the temperature and wait to be comfortable. To HVAC techs, air conditioners are a series of mechanical parts working in unison to produce conditioned air. From condensers to evaporators, compressors motors, motor controls, operating and safety controls, and refrigerant circuits, pumps, fans and piping, they have to know how they work.

I suppose that wall mount air conditioners are pretty much regarded as a recyclable commodity now. They’re economical to obtain and usually straight forward to install and you’ll be chillin’ in short order. When something does go wrong with them, a quick fix is usually passed by as it’s likely to exceed the value of the unit. It’s the bigger units, the ones connected to your furnace blower that should be maintained and are often repaired.

Now is the time towards making the steps to turning the hottest days of the year into the most comfortable ones indoors. The easiest thing you can do to ready your A/C equipment is to a qualified HVAC professional come out and take a look at it. Your HVAC tech will do a number of checks on your equipment to prove that it is capable of working efficiently and effectively this year.

If you’re the DIY’er, here are some steps to get the unit up and running on your own…

  • Remove the winter cover – you do have a winter cover don’t you?
  • Turn the power on – your unit should have a breaker on the exterior wall of your home, but many of us shut the power off at the panel.
  • No vegetation – your A/C unit moves a ton of air. Make sure that plants and bushes are well away from the unit.
  • Clean the unit – With your garden hose and a blower. Get rid of any debris from the unit.
  • Check the hoses and pipes – Much better left to a HVAC pro, but you can check your hoses and pipes for damage.
  • Change your furnace filter – yep, you’re A/C unit uses the blower motor from your furnace to move the cool air around the home. Blocked or dirty filters will reduce efficiency and will add extra load to your equipment.