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9 Things to Do Before Turning On Your AC for the Spring

This article comes from Angi.

9 Things to Do Before Turning On Your AC for the Spring

How do you prep your system to ensure it’s running efficiently and well on even the hottest of summer days?

1. Inspect the Outdoor Unit Panels

To prep your system for the first run of spring, you need to begin by thoroughly inspecting your outdoor HVAC unit, starting with the outdoor unit panels. These panels enclose the electrical connections and must be in place to help protect both you and the system. If you are missing a panel (possibly due to wind) or if the panel is misaligned, this could cause potential risks for both you and the system. If the panel covering the electrical connections is missing or out of place, you should call a qualified HVAC technician for an assessment before starting your system to reduce the risk of electric shock or fire.

2. Remove Any Condenser Covers, Coil Blankets, or Lids

You might have covered the condenser coils to protect them from winter’s cold, but you will want to ensure you remove those coverings before starting the system. These covers protect and insulate the coil, but also limit any heat transfer. Starting the system with any of these covers in place, even for a short time, could severely damage your system. Many people forget to remove their covers every year and that can spell disaster for your system!

3. Repair or Replace Any Damaged Pipe Insulation

Once you’ve removed any insulation or covers, you need to check your lines and pipes. The suction line, which is the larger copper pipe on the outdoor unit, helps to supply cool refrigerant back to the compressor in the outdoor unit. If the system’s suction pipe has damaged insulation, this could cause a loss of required cooling for the outdoor unit. This can damage your system and may also cause you to lose energy as well.

Damage to the foam insulation can be caused by lots of things, including sun rot, freezing water trapped in the foam, or winter animals looking for shelter or food. So just because you haven’t had any severe storms or other mishaps to cause damage doesn’t mean your foam insulation isn’t breaking down. And, since the foam insulation needs to be intact to maintain system cooling, you’ll want to inspect it closely before starting your system. If the insulation needs replacing, do so before starting the unit. Check the copper pipe for a size to determine the coordinate size of insulation. It might be possible to find the insulation at a local hardware store.

NOTE: The above applies ONLY the larger line, the suction line. Do NOT insulate the smaller copper line.

4. Remove Any Debris From the Outdoor Coil

Depending on where you live or what side of the house your system is located on, you might find trash or vegetation blown into or against the coil. The system condenser coils work by transferring heat, so any debris that has accumulated on the coil limits this effect.

To get the best possible performance from your system, remove this debris from the coil and surrounding area and clean the coil. Also, while mulching in the spring, take care to not pack mulch around the base of the unit. This is especially important with heat pumps as there’s likely a space under the unit. This space must remain open to allow good airflow to the outdoor unit. If you use clever methods to hide your AC, make sure they’re not blocking airflow.

5. Change the Air Filters

After you’ve removed your outdoor condenser covers, checked your suction line and insulation, and cleared debris from your condenser coils, it’s time to go inside and inspect your indoor handler unit.

The change in seasons is usually a good time to replace your indoor air filters. This can be particularly important in the spring, because, during the harsh winter months, your indoor air filters tend to collect a lot more debris and dust than normal. Changing the filter will help ensure your system is ready for the cooling season.

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