Arizona is well known for its extremely hot and dry summers. While the lack of humidity helps to make air conditioning systems work more effectively, the high temperatures are still a major issue that forces AC systems to work overtime. Making sure that your AC is ready to function before summer starts is important for ensuring it can keep your home cool. This can also keep your electricity bills as low as possible. This article will explain what steps to take to help prepare your AC for the summer.

Clear Debris and Vegetation From Around the AC Condenser

Before turning your AC on for the first time, you should go outside and make sure to clean up any leaves and other debris that is stuck to the sides of the condenser unit. You should also cut back any bushes, trees, and vegetation so that the unit has at least 3 feet of clearance on the front and sides. If there are any weeds or tall grasses around the unit, they also need to be trimmed down to the ground. All of this is important for ensuring that the condenser can get sufficient airflow.

AC and heat pump condensers require constant airflow to work effectively. Anytime the system is running, the fan on the unit pulls air in so that it is constantly blowing over the condenser coil. This continual airflow is what allows the refrigerant in the system to release the heat it removed from your home as the refrigerant flows through the condenser coil. This process works because the refrigerant is first compressed before being pumped into the coil. This instantly raises its temperature to around 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important since it makes the refrigerant quite a bit hotter than the air flowing over the coil. The stored heat naturally flows out of the refrigerant into the air.

If a condenser doesn’t have sufficient airflow, it makes it nearly impossible for the refrigerant to release all the stored heat. This can often cause the compressor motor in the unit to start overheating. It also leads to the refrigerant staying at a higher temperature. This results in it not being able to capture as much heat from your home when it gets pumped back to the evaporator coil inside your house. It will take the system longer to fully cool your home and cause it to use more electricity.

Protection Around Your Condenser

Most AC condensers and heat pumps are installed either on the side of the house or in the backyard. If you have a dog and your unit is in a place that your dog has access to, you should always have some type of fence or enclosure around the unit to keep your dog away. Dogs and other animals can cause damage to your AC unit, such as damaging the connections between your home and the unit.

If you do need to fence in your AC, it is important that you do it properly so that you don’t block off the airflow to the unit. Ideally, the fence should be at least 3 feet away from the unit on all sides. It’s best to use a chain-link fence or some other type of fence that is open so that air can flow through it.

Watch Out for a Refrigerant Leak

A refrigerant leak can make your AC system much less efficient and effective, leading to your home often being warmer than you want. If an AC system is low on refrigerant, it will typically freeze up and stop working often.

Checking the level of your AC refrigerant is part of routine maintenance. A professional will check that you have enough refrigerant but can also assess any signs of a leak. Low levels of refrigerant can be replaced, but annually having to invest in this service may warrant a unit replacement at some point. You’ll end up saving more money in the long run.

Replace or Clean the Air Filter

You should always replace the air filter in your HVAC system at least once every three months. If your home has central heating, it relies on the same air filter that your air conditioning does. Unless you replaced the filter within the last month or two, it’s a good idea to replace it before turning your air conditioning on for the first time this year. If you have a reusable filter, you should wash it and let it fully dry before putting it back in to prevent mold and algae growth on the filter.

Replacing the filter will help your air conditioning system cool more effectively and limit the amount of energy it uses. A dirty air filter can be extremely restrictive, which means that not much air can be drawn through it. The less warm air there is coming into the system, the less heat it will be able to remove from your home. It will take longer for the system to cool your house to your desired temperature.

A dirty filter also puts strain on the blower since it must work much harder to pull air in. This can lead to the blower motor overheating or cause it to wear out more quickly. If there isn’t sufficient warm air coming in because the filter is dirty, it will often also lead to the evaporator coil freezing.

Schedule an AC Tune-Up

While all the steps we just mentioned are important, the best thing you can do to ensure your air conditioning is ready to run is to have it serviced by a certified AC technician. An annual AC tune-up will help to keep your air conditioning operating as efficiently as possible. This will also reduce the chances of your AC suddenly breaking down during periods of extreme heat when it must work much harder.

A tune-up includes a complete inspection and testing of the system to ensure everything is still in good condition and working as it should. If the technician finds any issues or components that are wearing out, repairing the problem or replacing the part will help ensure your AC keeps running and cooling all summer.

When servicing an AC system, it is especially important to clean the evaporator and condenser coils as well as the blower. Cleaning the evaporator coil ensures that the system can effectively capture heat from your home and reduces the chances of it freezing. Cleaning the condenser coil is important for ensuring that the system can release all the heat outside. Cleaning the blower helps to ensure that the system always has sufficient airflow.

A/C Doctors is the top choice for air conditioning, heating, and plumbing in Gilbert and the Maricopa County area. We’ve been serving area residents since 2008. Our team of certified technicians is ready to handle all your HVAC maintenance, installation, and repair needs. Contact us today to schedule a tune-up and let us help ensure that your AC is ready to handle the extreme Arizona heat this summer.

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