As we enter into Spring, now is the best time to test your air conditioning and make sure it’s ready for summer cooling.
Why should you test it?
While it is not yet necessary to run air conditioning in the Pacific Northwest, it is important to give your unit a trial run to see if everything is working properly. If it’s been more than a year since the air conditioning unit was serviced by a professional technician, this is a great time to do that as well.
By testing your air conditioning system now, you will have time to set up maintenance or repair appointments before the heat comes and you absolutely need it. Waiting until summer often means waiting much longer for an appointment.
How to test your air conditioning
- First, check the outdoor air conditioning unit to see if it is dirty. If there is debris such as leaves, pine needles, twigs or other objects in or around the unit, take time to clean it out.
- Next, check your air filter. A plugged air filter will cause the air conditioner to bog down and take longer to move the cool air.
- Change your thermostat from “heat” to “cool” and lower the temperature setting by just a couple degrees.
- Wait for the air conditioner to come on and then wait a few minutes to feel the vents and see if cool air is coming through.
- Keep the air conditioner running long enough to see the temperature drop one to two degrees on the thermostat.
- If the air conditioner is cooling the house as it should and the temperature drops, your test is complete.
- Don’t forget to turn the thermostat settings back to “heat”.
Troubleshooting a problem
If during your air conditioning test, you find there is not cool air moving, check for these common problems.
- Plugged air filter: even if it didn’t look bad when you checked it in the steps above, try replacing the air filter. This is one of the least costly “fixes” and may help move cool air easier.
- Broken fan motor: when the air conditioner is turned on, you should be able to hear and see the fan turning inside the unit. If it is not, the air conditioner may need a new fan motor.
- Low refrigerant: If you aren’t seeing another problem, the issue may be low refrigerant. This is the liquid that absorbs hot air so your air conditioner can blow out cool air. If you’re low or completely out of refrigerant, your air conditioner will continue recycling the same air without cooling it. It is best to call a professional to inspect refrigerant levels and look for a leak.
- Malfunctioning air compressor: This is the most important part of the unit because it circulates refrigerant and moves air from the outside to inside after it has been cooled. This is another component that should be inspected by a professional.
Maintaining and servicing your air conditioner annually will extend the life of the unit. Testing your air conditioner in the early spring will prepare you for the warm summer days ahead.
If you would like to set up an appointment to have your air conditioner serviced or repaired, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.
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