Raleigh may not be Phoenix, Arizona, but if your AC gives out on a sweltering summer afternoon, it will feel like it! Taking some preventative actions now before the weather heats up will help you keep your air conditioning system running as efficiently as possible -which not only will save you from melting inside in the middle of the summer, but will save you money.

5 steps to help maintain your HVAC unit so you stay cool this summer

1. Change your Filters Often

Have you ever tried to run a marathon through mud, swim in the sand, or breathe through a block of wood? Neither have we – and your HVAC equipment works the same way. Any particulates clogging an air filter take up space otherwise allotted for air to pass through easily. The more air the system can take in, the more air it can pass out at the desired temperature. We, at Cool Change Heating & Air recommends replacing air filters every 30 days to optimize system efficiency, but the air flow doesn’t stop there.

2. Clean Outdoor Condenser Unit

Many pieces make up you air conditioner. One major component is the outdoor unit called a condenser. The condenser has the compressor, the fan blowing warm air on top and the aluminum fins. Air that is pulled in from the outside flows through the fins and over the freon coils, cooling the refrigerant as it passes over those fins. Clogged or dirty fins reduce system efficiency in that the particulates on the fins prevent heat from being removed from the freon; as a result: that warm, muggy Raleigh air inside your home is not cooled optimally.

3. Give your Condenser Plenty of Breathing Room

Nobody likes to feel claustrophobic, and condensers work best with elbow-space, too. When the outside world encroaches on your condenser, it impedes the steady air flow needed for the system to function properly. Therefore, it is important to remove any bushes or other hinderances that prevent your condenser from getting all the breathing room it needs.  That means if your bushes have grown too close, give them a trim. Also, we strongly recommend that if you want a fence around your AC unit to hide it from view the fence should be at least three feet away from the unit so as the condenser can get plenty of fresh cool air.  There should be a minimum two foot clearance on all sides of your outdoor condenser unit for bushes or hedges and three foot for things like fences.

4. Capacitors Checked & Within Factory Specifications

Capacitors help the motors of an Air Conditioning unit run at the designated speed and amperage by supplying additional energy – stored in the capacitor – as needed. When the capacitor operates out of factory specifications the motors run at higher amperage and slower speeds which not only reduces efficiency, but can drastically shorten the lifespan of motors and even destroy them completely. An estimated 70% of summertime HVAC Emergencies are related to dysfunctional capacitors, and many times the faulty capacitor takes a motor down with it. So make sure the capacitors are ready for the Raleigh summer by having them checked by an HVAC professional.

5. Tight Electrical Connections

Ever heard a buzzing sound from your outdoor unit? When the electrical connections within your HVAC system are loose it produces an audible hum; this can be an indication of electrical arcing (the visible electrical discharge of electricity jumping between circuitry). Often a loose connection can be arcing and you will never hear it. These electrical shorts cause motors to malfunction and system failure over time. If the motors don’t have a strong electrical connection, they don’t have the continuous electrical supply needed to perform normally. Because electricity creates heat and heat causes metal to expand electrical connections can become loose fitting over time. For this reason, it’s important that an air conditioning technician check your electrical connections inside your air conditioner on a yearly basis to maximize the life of you HVAC system.

It’s certainly easy to be overwhelmed getting your unit up to par for a Raleigh summer heat wave, but Cool Change Heating & Air in Raleigh will put your mind at ease. The best way to get your air conditioner ready is to have an HVAC maintenance plan. Put your trust in a the certified HVAC Specialists at Cool Change Heating & Air in Raleigh, where our great customer support team is always ready to serve your maintenance needs. Our number one goal is to make your air conditioner as efficient as possible and last as long as possible. That is exactly why Cool Change has the Coolest Clients in Town!