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Important Things to Do Before Turning on Your Air Conditioning System

Examine Your Heating and Cooling System

Years ago, it appeared that there were two seasons in America: winter and summer. We occasionally transition from freezing weather and heavy usage of our furnace or boiler system to scorching heat and frequent use of our air conditioners. While it appears th at we may get some spring weather this year, we all know that a break in the weather indicates summer is approaching — and it quickly! You and many other homeowners will soon seek relief from the oppressive heat generated just by your central air conditioning system. You want your system to cool you down not only the first time you turn it on, but every time you do this summer. 

Before You Turn on the Air Conditioner This Summer, Follow These 11 Steps

It’s a good idea to inspect your system for any issues or required maintenance right now. By examining your system now, you may make easy repairs or schedule professional servicing before the weather warms up.

Waiting and crossing your fingers when it comes time to switch on the air conditioner on our first hot day could result in days of pain as you wait for repairs.

You can take some basic measures to visually and physically inspect the various parts of your system to ensure that your air conditioning will operate when you need it.

Let’s get going…

Both your interior and outdoor equipment will be examined. Before we get started, let’s review some basic air conditioning terminology.

Before you turn on the air conditioner, follow these 11 steps.

The Top 5 Air Conditioning Terminologies to Help You Get Through the Season 

  1. AIR CONDITIONING – Complete temperature and humidity control; moisture removal via condensation.
  2. COMPRESSOR – Part that converts low-pressure refrigerant to high-pressure refrigerant.
  3. CONDENSER – A radiator-type component that converts a refrigerator from a gas to a liquid to provide heat.
  4. EVAPORATOR – Component that converts liquid refrigerant to a gas by absorbing heat from the interior air.
  5. FILTER – A device used in sequence in the liquid line on the high side of the system to remove foreign substances from the refrigerant; placed in series with the drier or as a standalone unit.

Indoor Equipment Is Crucial to Your Overall Health

Start by turning off your thermostat and placing the temperature to a high level (approximately eighty degrees), then test the following:

  1. Examine the thermostat. Is it still relevant? Installing a newer, programmable thermostat could save you money and energy.
  2. Examine any exposed ductwork for signs of wear that could indicate a source of cooling loss or inefficiency in the home.
  3. Examine the air vents in your home. Remove any draperies, furniture, or toys that could obstruct ventilation.
  4. Examine the drain line. There is a drain on the indoor cooling coil, which is normally positioned above the furnace in the basement.

If you pour one cup of chlorine bleach down your air conditioning drain and then rinse it with a gallon of water, you should be good to go.

  1. Replace the air filter. Every three months (or as recommended by the manufacturer), and definitely before the start of a new cooling or heating season, the filter should be replaced.
  2. Make sure electrical connections are turned on by checking circuits.
  3. Make that the furnace/air conditioning unit’s power is switched “on.”

After that, examine your outdoor equipment for overgrowth and wear.

Your System Cannot Run Without Outdoor Equipment

  1. Examine the outdoor condenser. Check for obstructions in or near the equipment, and clean the space around it. Leaves, vines, and dirt can obstruct internal components, reducing performance.

You should also look for any missing panels. The panels are made to conceal the electrical wiring.

  1. Check the refrigerant lines visually. Insulation should be applied to the lines. The system’s efficiency will be improved with proper insulation. Professionals should handle any insulation or refrigerant line repairs.
  2. Make sure the outside electrical wiring is in good condition. Before utilizing your system, consult a professional for service if you see any damage or wear.
  3. Know when your air conditioner is nearing the end of its useful life. The lifespan of an air conditioner is limited. Your device will ultimately wear out, even if it has been carefully maintained.
Your System Cannot Run Without Outdoor Equipment

It’s Time to Turn on the Air Conditioner

You can test the system after you’ve examined your interior and outdoor equipment as mentioned above.

Step 1: Set your thermostat to the desired temperature and turn the system “on” from the thermostat.

Step 2: Go outdoors and listen to ensure sure the condenser fan is working and not making any unusual noises. Warm air is being removed from your home by the system, therefore the air coming out of the top of the unit should feel warm.

Step 3: Run the system for 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see a reduction in interior temperature throughout the house.

It's Time to Turn on the Air Conditioner

Energy Savings and Troubleshooting

In general, you should employ a qualified service expert for regular maintenance at least once a year to keep your system functioning smoothly throughout the year. If you discovered any issues or concerns during your air conditioning inspection, you should contact a professional for service before the summer season, when you’ll need your system to cool your home.

Simply increasing the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees will help keep your energy bills under control during the summer. A related blog post with additional advice on saving money and energy by utilizing appropriate temperature settings can be found here.

Energy Savings and Troubleshooting


The last thing you want on a hot, sticky, humid summer day is to flip that switch to “on” and nothing happens. When your air conditioner is inactive for at least half of the year, maintenance or a tune-up is a necessity.

Now is the time to get your A/C system up and running efficiently.

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

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