How to Prepare Your AC for Summer (and Prevent Breakdowns)

April 18, 2019

This type of air purifier can cut down on summer allergies

With the cooling season quickly approaching, you want to prepare your AC system for the summer, so you don’t run into costly or inconvenient breakdowns when you need your AC the most.

To prepare your AC for summer, you should:

  1. Schedule professional maintenance

  2. Change dirty air filters

  3. Clean debris away from the outdoor unit

  4. Open AC vents

  5. Clean the condensate drain

Below, we’ll break down each of these maintenance tasks, so that your AC is ready for the summer season.

Want to schedule AC maintenance with a professional now?

Tip #1: Schedule professional maintenance

While you can do a few things on your own, scheduling professional maintenance is the best way to prepare your AC for summer.

Why is professional AC maintenance so essential?

During a maintenance visit (also called a tune-up), a professional will check important AC components to make sure they're working properly. This prevents breakdowns and will lower your monthly energy bills during the summer.

During a tune-up, a professional should:

  • Check thermostat settings

  • Tighten all electrical connections

  • Lubricate all moving parts

  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner

  • Check controls of the system

  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils

  • Check your central air conditioner's refrigerant levels

  • Clean and adjust blower components

If a company or contractor doesn’t offer all of the above, our suggestion would be to find a company that does. You want to make sure that your AC is maintained properly, so you won’t be stuck with any costly repairs down the road.

Tip #2: Change dirty air filters

Clean air filter vs. dirty air filter

As a good rule of thumb, you should change your filter every month.

When your air filter is dirty, it restricts the air flow to and from your system, making your system work harder and longer to produce the same temperature. This leads to increased utility bills and potential damage to your system.

A dirty air filter can cause:

  • An overheated outdoor unit- If your AC can’t circulate enough air, it will run constantly trying to cool your home, which can cause the outdoor unit to overheat.

  • Frozen indoor unit- When airflow is reduced to your indoor unit, the evaporator coil can get too cold, freezing and potentially shutting down your AC.

Tip #3: Clean debris away from the outdoor unit

example of a dirty condenser on an outdoor unit

If there is debris covering or stuck to your outdoor AC unit, it could restrict air flow, making it harder for your AC to cool your home.

You should clear off any visible debris from the outside of your unit as well as clear space around your outdoor unit, to ensure that the unit has adequate air flow.

During an annual tune-up, a professional will check the inside of your outdoor unit and clean internal parts. We don’t suggest trying this on your own, as you could easily lodge debris further into your unit or cause damage to other parts of the system.

Tip #4: Open AC vents

supply vent

Before turning your AC on for the season, you should make sure that all return and supply vents are open. Closed vents increase the pressure in your ductwork, which can lead to leaks or can prevent conditioned air from reaching certain areas of your home.

If this happens, your AC will likely work longer to produce the temperature you want, increasing your energy bills.

Tip #5: Clean out the condensate drain

In addition to cooling your home, your AC unit also dehumidifies it. That excess moisture is drained out of your home via a condensate line, which exits your home through the condensate drain. This drain can become clogged and should be cleaned out regularly (at least once a year) to ensure that your AC system is working efficiently.  

Our tip: Use a wet/dry vacuum to clear debris, mold and build-up out of the condensate line.

Here’s how:

  1. Turn your AC off

  2. Connect the wet/dry vacuum to the end of the condensate drain

  3. Make sure the connection is airtight

  4. Turn the vacuum on for 10 seconds

  5. Repeat until the clog is cleared.

You can read more about how to unclog your condensate drain on our blog, “How Do I Unclog My AC’s Condensate Drain Line?

Ready to prepare your AC for summer? Hire a Florida pro!

If you want to ensure that your AC is ready for summer, you should schedule maintenance with a pro now, before the summer season begins.