As the seasons change, so do your home comfort needs. While your furnace helps to keep your home cozy and warm in the winter, as summer gets going, your home's air conditioning steps forward to take on the role of keeping you comfortable at home. Air conditioning in Pittsburgh, PA, is practically a necessity to help you get through the hot, sticky summer.
As you gear up for the season ahead, there are a few things you need to do now to make sure your AC is in good working order. Taking some preventative maintenance steps before summer really gets going will help you keep your home cooling bills down and will help to extend the life of your air conditioner.
Inspect the Area Around Your AC Outside
On a nice spring day, take a few minutes to inspect the area around your air conditioning unit outside. It's usually a good idea to cover the unit during the winter with a cover or tarp to keep dirt, leaves, and other debris from falling into it. If you covered your condenser, take the cover off before you switch the unit on for the first time in the summer. Leaving the outside AC unit covered will impede airflow, forcing it to work harder and meaning that you need air conditioning repair in Pittsburgh, PA.
If your condenser wasn't covered during the winter, there might be leaves or trash on the top or sides of the unit. Peel away any debris from the AC. Also, make sure that mulch or leaves aren't piled up around the base of the unit. If they are, try to sweep them away so that they don't restrict airflow.
When you're inspecting the outside air conditioner unit, keep an eye out for any signs of damage. The insulation that covers the suction line might be worn as a result of exposure to sunlight or freezing temperatures over the winter. Rodents might have chewed through the insulation, too. If you see any signs of damage, note them when you call for air conditioner services in Pittsburgh, PA.
Also, pay attention to what's growing around your AC condenser. Vegetation can help to improve your home's curb appeal by concealing the unit, but it's also important that any plants or trees don't get too close to the air conditioner. Trim back any vining plants so that that they aren't growing over the compressor, or better yet, consider pulling out the plants and replacing them with slow-growing, evergreen shrubs.
Finally, inspect the concrete base the unit rests on to make sure it hasn't been damaged by snow or cold temperatures over the winter.
Clean or Change the Filters
The outside part of your air conditioner isn't the only component that needs an inspection before summer gets going. It's also a good idea to check out the indoor air handler. One maintenance task that's particularly important is changing or cleaning the air filter in the unit.
The air filter traps dust and debris and keeps it from circulating through your home. After a season of heavy use, the filter is likely full of dust. A full filter can restrict airflow, meaning your AC has to work harder to keep your home cool.
Cleaning or replacing the filter is a common part of AC and furnace repair in Pittsburgh, PA. It's a preventative measure that can help to lower your energy bills, and it can often be the solution to problems with your home's HVAC system.
You can replace or clean the air filter yourself, but if you're nervous about installing it incorrectly or about using the wrong filter, you can hire a technician to take care of the task for you during an inspection and maintenance call.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
Adjusting the thermostat can help you lower your cooling bills over the summer, without making your home too hot. The trick is to set the thermostat higher when no one's home, then lower it during the times when you and your family are in the house.
If you haven't already made the switch, upgrading to a smart thermostat can help you save money on your energy bills without you having to break a sweat. A smart thermostat learns your habits and begins to adjust temperature levels for you. You can also access the thermostat using your smartphone, so you can adjust the temperature up or down even when you're not at home.
Rearrange Your Furniture
The cold air produced by your air conditioner most likely travels through ducts to reach various rooms of your home. The air exits the ducts through vents, or air registers, usually located on the walls or floors. Depending on the layout of your home, you might have unintentionally blocked those vents with couches, tables, or even a rug.
If that's the case, it can be a good idea to rearrange your furniture before you switch on the AC for the first time. Move any chairs, tables, or other pieces away from the vents so that the air isn't blocked. Covering over the air registers can make your AC work harder, putting additional strain on the system and increasing your energy bills.
Schedule an Inspection and Tune-Up
The beginning of summer is the ideal time to schedule an annual inspection and tune-up for your air conditioner. Usually, the sooner you schedule the inspection, the better. You want to get it on the calendar before there's a lot of demand, and appointments are difficult to come by. It's also a good move to schedule your inspection before you need to use your AC. That way, if your system needs any extensive repairs or replacement, you have plenty of time to have the work finished before summer heats up.
During the inspection, a trained technician will take a look at your air conditioner, assess its age and condition, and make recommendations to you about the best way to proceed. Your AC might be ready to go for the summer after just a few small tweaks, or it might need more involved repairs. An older unit might be up for replacement. Stahl Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning offers air conditioner repair in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as inspections and preventative maintenance. As you get ready for warm weather, be sure to give us a call to schedule your AC's tune-up and to ask questions about how to get the most out of your AC this summer.