10 Things You Need to Do Before Using Your Air Conditioning This Year

man turning on air conditioning

As a homeowner, you want to be prepared for the higher temperatures of summer. Once the weather gets hot enough, you want to be able to rely on your home’s air conditioning to keep your home and family comfortable. But remember, you haven’t used your air conditioning all winter long. Before you use your air conditioning, take the time to do these ten things:

1. Clear yard debris around outside units

Yard debris can collect around your outside air conditioning units. This typically happens in fall and winter, when falling leaves, twigs and branches are swept into the inside corners of your home’s exterior. Clear this debris so that your air conditioning unit has plenty of space around it.

clear debris from outdoor ac unit

Just like this Trane 3 pack, all leaves and other debris should be cleared away from your outdoor AC unit


2. Check for nests on outdoor units

Birds, squirrels, and rodents often find it convenient to make nests inside outdoor air conditioning units. Use a flashlight to inspect inside the units carefully. If you see a collection of twigs or other nesting material, carefully remove it and discard.

3. Clean off outside units

Outdoor air conditioning compressors and other units are subject to damage from snow plows, falling branches, etc. To ensure there is no physical damage to your unit, clean them off with a garden hose or bucket of sudsy water and a rag. This will allow you to inspect the condition of the units better.

4. Remove and clean or replace filters

Air conditioner filters work by blocking airborne debris from entering your home. These filters must be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis to ensure maximum efficiency. The first cleaning or replacement should happen before you turn on your air conditioner this year.

air filter access ac unit

You can access your air filter by unscrewing where the red arrows are pointing

5. Inspect indoor units

Indoor air conditioning units can be subject to damage over the winter. Before you turn them on, carefully inspect them for physical damage, including the electrical wiring.

6. Double check your circuits

Air conditioners do use up a lot of electricity. Be sure that your circuit breaker is in good working condition before starting up your A/C.

7. Check the drain line

As water collects through your air conditioner, it needs to be able to flow through the drain line. Ensure this is clear and unobstructed.

8. Unblock all vents

In the winter, many people change to heavier drapery and move furniture around to accommodate the fireplace or other winter furnishings. Make sure that all the air conditioning vents leading into all the rooms of the house are unblocked by draperies, furniture, carpeting, etc.

9. Clean condenser coils

On central air conditioners, the condenser unit has coils that can get dusty or heavy with debris. Turn off the electricity and remove the cover so you can clean the coils. You can use a standard refrigerator coil brush or even a soft rag to clean the coils carefully. Replace the cover securely.

10. Test your thermostat

Test your thermostat to ensure it is reading accurately. If you have any doubts, ask an air conditioning technician to come out and inspect it.

Taking the time to complete these ten steps before you use your air conditioning will ensure that you and your family experience a cool, comfortable summer.