As the temps begin to rise in Chicagoland, don’t be caught sweating it out inside your home! The last thing you want on the first super hot day of summer is to find your air conditioning unit doesn’t work. This could be the case if you don’t do a bit of simple annual maintenance before summer gets here. Spring is the perfect time in Chicago to get your air conditioner ready for summer.

A central air conditioner has an indoor air handler and an outdoor compressor. The condenser unit is usually located outside your home. This is the part of your air conditioning unit that you will want to clean and rid of debris that may have built up over the fall and winter months. Replacing the air filters, cleaning the condenser, and performing a few minor checks will get your AC unit into tip-top shape so it’s ready to cool you and your loved ones efficiently this summer.

Safety First

Turn off the circuit breaker before you begin maintenance on your air conditioning system. Turning off the power to the condenser at the service panel is also essential before working on your air conditioner unit. The condenser typically has a 240-volt weatherproof disconnect box located near the unit. This contains a lever, fuses, or a circuit breaker to shut off the condenser. Be sure to turn this off as well.

How to get your air conditioner ready for summer in 3 simple steps:

1. Clean or Replace the Filters

Clean or replace your furnace or air-handler filters whenever they begin to look clogged or filled with dust. This should be done at least twice a year. Not changing these filters will restrict air flow and reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Dust filters also recirculate dust into your home. 

2. Clean the Air Conditioner’s Condenser Coils

Another step to AC maintenance is to clean your air conditioning unit’s condenser coils and fan of debris. A central air conditioner’s condenser unit is typically located outdoors. It is a large fan in a metal box with sides. If your condenser unit was covered during the winter, uncover it. In this case, there’s likely not much debris to clear away. If it wasn’t covered, you’ll likely need to clear away more yard debris and dirt. Make sure the fan is free and clear of all debris. Air moves across radiator-style condenser coils inside the box. Check to see if debris has clogged the coils. If so, these coils need to be cleaned so your condenser unit is most efficient when running.

To clean the coils:

• Remove the side and top panels or protective grilles from the condenser unit. 

• Lift off the top. The fan may be attached to it making it heavy. Note: Don’t tug any of the wires connected to the fan.

• Using a refrigerator coil brush or a soft brush on a vacuum, gently clean the coils from the outside of the unit. After you clean the outside, vacuum coils from the inside. Note: Be careful not to bend the delicate fins or damage the coils.

3. Clean and Clear Debris

Clear all leaves and debris out of the base of the condenser. If your air conditioning unit has a drain, make sure the drain is clear. Clean the blower’s fan blades using a vacuum or a rag. Clean up any excess water inside the unit. Once everything is cleared and cleaned, reassemble the condenser.

Hobson Plumbing and Heating is always here for your air conditioning maintenance needs. If the job is too overwhelming or you can’t find the time contact us today at 630.761.3400 to schedule an appointment.