As hard as it is to believe, summer is nearing a close, and it’s time to start wrapping things up. Before it’s time to flip that switch on your thermostat for heat, there are a few things left to do with your air conditioner. Here is an easy checklist to care for your AC before the end of the summer.

Check Your Air Filter

If you haven’t checked your air filters recently, be sure to give them some attention. Most one-inch filters need replacing about every 90 days. However, with poor air quality, due to pollen and dust, summer months may require more frequent replacement.

If the filter’s not quite ready for a replacement yet, gently vacuum the dirty side of the filter to help extend its life. However, be sure you replace it before turning on your heat for the winter.

Inspect Your Vents

Your vents tell you a lot about what’s happening in your HVAC system. Even though you may have closed a few vents over the warmer months, consider opening them back up. This allows your house to properly circulate air for the remainder of the season.

Also, notice any buildup of dust around your vents. This is a key indicator of the condition inside your HVAC system and may warrant a maintenance visit to clean the system.

Check Your Drip Pan and Condensate Drain

As your air conditioner runs, it condenses moisture from the air, which drops through the system. You should check the drip pan under your system to ensure there is no standing water. If there is, that’s a key indicator of a clogged condensate drain, which can prevent your system from starting.

If you have already had maintenance this year, a clogged condensate line may also indicate advanced corrosion of the evaporator coil. This generally correlates to an aging system that may be nearing time for a replacement. Consult with your HVAC technician about whether a new system may be in order for next year.

Listen for Unusual Noises

Be sure to note any unusual or new noises your system is making now that it didn’t earlier in the season. These may indicate consumable parts wearing out, like the contactor or capacitor. However, they may also give an indication of larger problems brewing that you can get ahead of before they become catastrophic.

Clear Around Your Condensing Unit

It’s easy to let the weeds and grass grow up around your outside condensing unit. However, this prevents adequate airflow through the unit, reducing your cooling capacity. Take some time, and remove any debris around your unit before the weather turns cold.

The general rule of thumb is to allow at least a one-foot clearance around and above your condensing unit. Your unit will be in much better condition at the start of next year if you attend to this now.

Check for Storm Damage

Unfortunately, storms happen around Niles, and with them can come damage to your air conditioning. If you haven’t checked your unit for storm damage, take the time to do so now. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover storm-related damage, so be sure you check for it before the end of the season.

Look for obvious damage like major dents or cracks in the housing. Also, check the fins on the condensing coil to see if they have been damaged by flying debris. Finally, check to see if any debris has gotten inside the unit, especially around the condensing fan.

Observe Airflow From Your Vents

Check the airflow from your vents before you need to depend on your heating to keep you safe over the cold winter. Specifically, you want to observe whether the amount of air moving out seems about normal.

Reduced airflow signifies airflow restrictions somewhere in the system. This could be as simple as an air filter, but it may also indicate problems like a circulating fan motor wearing out. Checking this now will help save an emergency service call over the winter.

Consider Your Maintenance

If you haven’t had your system maintained for the season yet, it’s not too late to do it now. This will help you get the most efficiency from your system and set you up for the start of next year. It will also ensure you maintain your manufacturer’s warranty if your system is still covered.

For more than 60 years, people around Niles have turned to the experts at A To Z Dependable Services for reliable service. Our team provides not only dependable heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repairs but also a broad range of expert plumbing services. Call to schedule your air conditioning maintenance with the area’s most trusted technicians today.

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