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How to Quickly Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Georgia’s Humid Summer

Posted 04-23-14 in Air Conditioning

preparing a/c for summerIt’s already heating up here in the Atlanta area. But it’s nowhere near as bad as it’s going to be in a few months. When the humid heat comes, your central air conditioner is going to work overtime to keep you cool.

So how do you prepare your air conditioner so it won’t cost you a ton in high energy bills? Or, even worse, break down on the hottest day of the year?

Here are a 3 quick ways a homeowner can prep their air conditioner for summer to keep it healthy and efficient.

1) Check your air conditioner’s drain line

With a show of hands, who likes expensive home water damage? No one? OK, then pay attention here.

We all know that Georgia is humid. But did you know your air conditioner helps dehumidify your home? Your air conditioner pulls in hot air, cools it down using tubes (or coils) filled with cold refrigerant.

When the hot air blows over the cold coils, moisture beads up and drips down into a pan. It’s just like how moisture beads up on a ice-filled glass of water on a hot day.

That drain pan empties the moisture out through a condensate drain line. But that drain line can get clogged due to algae, dirt and insects. If that happens, water can back up, causing water damage to your home.

Here’s what you do: Look for the condensate drain line. It’s a small PVC pipe near the outside unit. Is it dripping water? Good! That means it’s clear. But if the secondary drain line (usually located above the outside unit) is dripping water, the main condensate line needs clearing.

2) Check your air filter

Your air filter’s job is to protect your air conditioner from dust and dirt. But when the filter gets too dirty, two horrible things happen:

  • Dirt and dust build up on your air conditioner, meaning there’s a higher chance of a breakdown.
  • It blocks airflow in your return duct, meaning your air conditioner has to run harder and longer to keep your cool, increasing your energy bills.

Here’s what you do: Check your air filter in the return duct. Change it if it’s dirty. ENERGY STAR recommends checking your air filter at least once a month.

3) Keep the outside air conditioning unit clear of junk

imagine you are wearing a wool sweater on a hot day. Your body gets super hot because the wool prevents heat from escaping.

Something similar happens to your air conditioner when the outside unit is covered in dirt, leaves, shrubs, and other debris. They block airflow, causing the air conditioner to work harder and increase your energy bills.

Here’s what you do: Clean the outside unit of leaves, branches, grass blades and other debris. Leave at least a 3-foot area around the air conditioner clear to allow your air conditioner to breathe and release heat.

How to keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency

While these DIY tasks are helpful, your air conditioner needs a professional maintenance visit to keep it running at max efficiency.

According to Georgia Power, you should; “Have a licensed contractor perform a pre-season checkup of your system in the spring and fall to ensure all parts are working properly and avoid early system failure.”

If your Atlanta-area home’s air conditioner has not had professional maintenance yet, contact Coolray about our proactive maintenance plans.

Got questions? Ask our experts for help.

Coolray is your Atlanta-area home comfort expert with specialists in heating, air conditioning, air quality and plumbing. 

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