June 11, 2019

Is Your Central Air Conditioning System Ready for the Cooling Season Ahead?

Simple Things You Can Do Now to Make Sure Your Air Conditioning Keeps Its Cool As Temperatures Rise.

Central air conditioning systems can sit idle for months at a time, then get pressed into service as warmer weather arrives. Here are several things you can do to help ensure your system will operate reliably and efficiently throughout the cooling season.

Your air conditioning system has two basic components - an outdoor unit called a "compressor" and an indoor device typically called an "evaporator" or "air handler."

The condenser needs good air flow to do its job properly. Remove leaves, twigs or other debris that might obstruct air flow. Clear away any soil or mulch that may have accumulated around the base of the condenser. Make sure the top of the pad beneath the unit is visible all the way around. Trim back bushes and other foliage so they’re at least two feet from the equipment. Remove any obstructions sitting nearby or leaning against the air intake fins.

The other major component of your air conditioning system is inside your home... it’s called the evaporatoror or air handler. This is the unit that actually removes heat from your indoor air, and cools your home in the process.  

Regularly checking the filter in the air handler is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do on your own. Disposable filters are simply replaced. Washable versions can be sprayed with an air conditioner coil cleaner and rinsed with a garden hose.

Visually inspect exposed ductwork in the basement or attic. Reconnect and seal any open joints. Reattach any loose duct insulation.

Many modern thermostats (including the new connected devices) are battery powered. Replace batteries once a year or when the low battery indicator appears on the digital panel. If you are looking to upgrade your thermostat, you should consider installing a programmable thermostat like the Trane ComfortLink™ II XL1050. It enables you to remotely control your home, comfort and enery use from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Most air conditioning experts recommend that a system be serviced once a year by a qualified and licensed professional. An HVAC pro has the experience and special equipment to check parts of the system that the average homeowner may not be able to access or know about.

An experienced HVAC technician will inspect, clean and tighten electrical connections and examine relay contacts for wear or pitting. He’ll test electrical circuits for continuity and proper voltage, clean the condenser coil and check the refrigerant level.

Inside, at the air handler, the technician will, among other things, clean the condensate drain and conduct an overall performance test by the temperature of incoming and outgoing air.

If you ever find yourself in a position where your air conditioner is not working properly, there is some trouble shooting you can do yourself. What if your system just won’t turn on? First, check your thermostat.  Make sure the mode switch is set to “cool” rather than “heat”.  Check the breaker panel. Locate the air conditioning breaker and, if it’s tripped … reset it.

Sometimes the air conditioning system is running, but the air coming out of the vents is warm rather than cool.  What then? This is often caused by restricted air flow. Check the air vents to make sure they are not blocked. Once again, check for a clogged or dirty filter. This is probably the most common reason a central air conditioning system fails to produce cool air.

Before things really heat up, you should schedule your seasonal maintenance to make sure your system is in good condition. Check out the Trane page to contact your local Trane residential specialist near you and schedule your appointment sooner, than later.

All of us want to avoid an air conditioning outage in the midst of a heat wave when service pros are often swamped and wait times can be the longest. Avoid all that and save energy costs by getting your system ready now.

Posted in: News Interior Maintenance Air Conditioning Energy Efficiency Tools & Know-How Savers
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