What Can You Do Now To Ensure Your Summer Air Conditioning Is As Efficient As Possible?
It may still be cool or cold in most of the country, but the weather will still warm up faster than you anticipated. Before you know it, it will be summer, and you'll be grateful for your air conditioner. That is, if the air conditioner works well. A winter spent dormant shouldn't affect the air conditioner that much, but there are circumstances that can make the air conditioner less efficient. Winter and early spring are great times to get the air conditioner and your home into shape.
Start With Inspecting Doors and Windows for Drafts
Your doors and windows should already have good weatherstripping and seals, especially if you live in a region with cold winters; you don't want drafts making your home too cold. Those same drafts can let hot air in and cool air out during the summer, too, and seals and weatherstripping wear down over time. If you've owned a home for a while, you likely already know this, but for those living on their own for the first time, inspect the weatherstripping and seals around doors and windows again—it's good to do this a couple of times per year, before both cold and hot weather set in. Replace worn weather stripping and get a draft excluder for the bottom of the door if necessary; have the seals around windows replaced if you can feel drafts.
Dust off Air Conditioner and Remove Debris
When the weather permits, especially as the threat of snow and ice pass, clean off your air conditioning unit outside. If you have a central unit, you'll remove leaves and clean off the dirt from the main unit at the side of your house. If you have a through-wall unit or a window unit, make sure nothing is blocking the grill on the outside, and dust off the top of the unit both outside and inside your home. Debris stuck in the grill can block airflow, and dust, in general, can simply make the unit look bad.
Remember to change or clean air filters. Central systems use disposable filters, but many through-wall units, for example, use a thin plastic filter that you can wash off in the sink. Dry that completely before placing it back in the unit.
Have an Air Conditioning Company Inspect and Service the Unit
Just like you're supposed to have the heater inspected before winter so you can make sure it will work and will be safe to use, you have to do the same with the air conditioner. When you've had it turned off for a while, you would think that it would simply just sit and not be an issue. But over the months, a minor problem that first occurred at the end of last summer could become more of an issue without you knowing. A pre-warm-weather inspection ensures nothing funny is going on.
All of these tasks are normal parts of having a home with an air conditioner, and in most years, assuming you keep up with maintenance, they'll be mostly inspection and light cleaning tasks. Keep your home in good shape and your air conditioner ready to use through inspections and regular maintenance.
Contact an air conditioning service for more information.