What Maintenance Should You Do Before Turning Your AC On In The Spring?

Spring is in the air. Your heat has been off for a few weeks, and in a few more weeks, it will be time to turn the air conditioning on! Before that day arrives, make sure you dedicate a weekend -- or at least a few hours -- to doing a little HVAC maintenance. The switch from heat to AC is a big one, and the right maintenance techniques can keep everything running smoothly.

1. Clean out leaves and debris.

With winter comes wind. Chances are, the wind blew some free leaves, twigs, and other pieces of landscaping debris into your air conditioning unit. Take the time to remove these before AC season arrives, as doing so will increase the efficiency of your unit and keep it running smoothly. You may need to unscrew the cage that covers the outdoor AC unit in order to remove it and access the leaves.

2. Wipe down the vents.

The vents that let cooled air into your home, and those that direct the ambient air back into the system, are an often-forgotten component of your HVAC system. They tend to get really dirty in the spring when you are not using the heat or AC. Take a damp cloth, and wipe the dust off all surfaces that you can reach. Use an all-purpose cleaner if you can't remove the dust with water alone. This will keep your home cleaner and will also prevent so much dust from being sucked into the system.

3. Change the air filter.

Most HVAC systems send the air conditioned and heated air through the same filter, so that filter is probably pretty dirty after working with your furnace all winter. Buy a new one. The pleated cotton filters work well in most cases and they're pretty affordable. Higher-end filters that cost $30 or $40 aren't necessary for the maintenance of your system, but they can be nice if you have pets and suffer from allergies.

4. Clean the condensate drain tube.

A clear section of tubing connected to the air conditioner should drain fluid away from the AC unit as it is created. If this section of tubing looks cloudy or discolored, you need to clean it. You can use a wire to push a cotton ball through it, or you can use a long pipe cleaner.

For more advice, reach out to an air conditioning repair professional, or ask them to come complete maintenance on your system for you.