Daily temperatures are already starting to warm up. That means now is the time to prepare your AC for summer. A few simple steps can avoid air conditioner repair in San Jose after a breakdown at night, on the weekend, or on the Fourth of July. To reduce the risk of AC emergencies in the coming months and ensure your home stays cool, here are some preventative tips:
Clean Your AC Unit
During the winter, some debris has likely collected on the coils and in the fan, especially if the unit was left uncovered. It’s important to clean it. If not, the unit can work inefficiently, provide less cooling, or develop a refrigerant leak. We see many calls for AC repair in San Jose due to these and similar issues.
Check the condenser for leaves, twigs, and other debris on the outside and clear them away. To clean the inside, remove the front panel and use a hose to remove any debris on its components, including the fins (use a fin comb to straighten them, if necessary). Use a condenser coil cleanser engineered to remove the kind of debris that gets stuck onto it.
Here are some additional tips for cleaning the outdoor unit:
- Gently lift the fan from the top and clean it with a vacuum or rag.
- To clean the coils, gently clean them with a soft vacuum brush or refrigerator coil brush.
- Be sure to clean up excess water within the unit.
Clean the Inside Unit Too
Indoor units can also collect dirt when not in use. To clean your indoor AC, turn off the power at the circuit breaker and remove the access panel. Remove debris from the evaporator coils using a foaming cleanser. Dirt should fall to the drain pan, which should be cleaned next. It can be cleaned with a solution of bleach and water. Then unclog the drain pipe to ensure condensation and water do not back up.
Change Your AC Filter
The air filter prevents airborne particulates and other pollutants from getting inside your air conditioner. It also helps reduce indoor air pollution. A dirty filter can lead to dusty air, restricted airflow, and reduced AC efficiency. It can make the system work harder, so eventually, expensive repairs may be required.
Fortunately, it’s easy to replace AC filters. First, locate the filter in the AC unit, air handler cabinet, or return air register. If it’s surrounded by a cardboard frame, it’s a disposable filter; replace it with a filter of the same size. Air filters with a plastic frame are reusable and, depending on the product, can be shaken clean, washed in water, wiped with a cloth, or vacuum cleaned.
Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing upward. The arrow typically points in the direction of airflow. Replace the filter every one to three months. You may need to replace it more frequently if you have pets, allergies, or air quality issues in your home.
Check the Refrigerant Level
The refrigerant in your AC system helps transfer heat from one area to another. As it passes through the copper coils, it’s converted to a gas by the compressor (this process releases heat outside) and condenses to a liquid once it reaches the indoor coil. Now, it can absorb heat from the air. The refrigerant returns to the compressor and repeats the cycle.
Your AC should maintain a constant refrigerant level throughout its life. If a leak occurs, it can severely damage the compressor and prevent your AC from providing cool air. Checking the coolant level requires a technician, but you can look for signs of low refrigerant, such as:
- Frost on the coils, motor, and other system components.
- A bubbling or hissing sound from the AC.
- Bubbles when you put soap and water in the area of a leak.
- Moisture or puddles of liquid near the unit.
- The air conditioner runs longer but cools less effectively.
If you notice any of these signs, call for AC repair in San Jose. Your system is at risk of major damage, and AC refrigerant can be highly toxic.
Inspect the AC Ducts
A professional duct cleaning can reach deeper into the system, but you can make some headway by removing the vent covers and washing them. Cover the vent openings with paper towels to prevent dust from blowing out of them; then loosen the dust by tapping lightly on the sides of the ductwork. This will loosen the dust and make it easier to vacuum it up with a vacuum cleaner’s nozzle and brush attachments.
While you’re at it, inspect for damage such as punctures and dents in the metal. Look for shifted ducts and loose connections as well. Any damage to your ducts can cause air to leak and for contaminants to get in. Schedule a professional duct cleaning or repair if things look bad or your ductwork hasn’t been serviced in a few years.
Test Your AC System
After the system is cleaned and dried, it’s time to test it. Start by turning the power back on at the main panel and disconnect the box, with the thermostat off. Then switch the thermostat to cool. Place a thermometer inside an air duct and let the system run for at least 15 minutes. Move the thermometer to the return air duct; the temperature difference should be between 14℉ and 20℉. If it’s less, then issues like dusty evaporator coils, a clogged filter, or low refrigerant levels may be present. Therefore, testing your AC system can determine whether to call for air conditioner repair in San Jose.
Hire a Professional AC Technician
A licensed, trained AC technician knows how to find minor issues you might miss and make small repairs. They can help improve efficiency, ensure safe operation, and improve equipment longevity. Professional maintenance can save money in the long run and ensure the unit is serviced within the terms of the warranty.
When looking for an AC technician to perform a system inspection, cleaning, tune-up, etc., make sure they’re:
- Properly licensed and certified.
- Punctual and arrive when you expect them to.
- Experienced with your type of system.
- Able to answer your questions.
- Recommended by family members, friends, and via online reviews.
Avoid AC Repair in San Jose This Summer
Summer is just around the corner and now’s the time to prepare your air conditioning system. Cleaning components, changing the filter and checking the refrigerant level and ducts can help ensure it’s in working order. To avoid any breakdowns later, schedule professional AC maintenance now. Call IRBIS at 669-266-5464 to book your appointment.