Despite the snow and ice still in the forecast, spring is just around the corner. Like most homeowners, you likely haven’t used your air conditioner since the end of last summer. Since your air conditioner hasn’t run in a few months, you’ll want to take a few steps to ensure the unit works smoothly and efficiently once spring weather hits. Take a look at our top recommendations for prepping your HVAC unit for spring.

Replace Air Filters

Use the change in seasons as an opportunity to change out the air filter, which should be replaced according to need and use, approximately every 30 to 90 days. Make it a habit of inspecting the air filter every month, and wait no longer than three months to replace it.

Air filters are key to maintaining healthy indoor air quality. If the air filter is dirty, the air is dirty. Additionally, if the air filter is dirty, then it is harder for your air conditioner to do its job; this means poor airflow, more wear and tear, and higher energy costs.

Schedule Inspection and Maintenance

Many times, homeowners make the mistake of waiting until they really need their HVAC unit working to schedule tune-ups, repairs, and replacements. Why risk it? Spare yourself the headache and hassle by scheduling a maintenance visit now. Our sister company, UGI Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing, specializes in HVAC tune-ups and inspections.

Regular maintenance helps the system to run at peak efficiency by clearing air conditioning coils of dust and dirt, cleaning the filters and condensate drain, refilling the refrigerant that has been consumed, and checking the condition of the safety devices, wiring, blower motor, coils, and fan blades. With regular servicing, the life of a central air unit should reach 15 to 20 years.

Clean Around the Unit

It’s possible that over the winter months, overgrown foliage, trash, or other debris could have found its way around the condenser unit. Keep the area around the unit clear to prevent any issues. There should be a minimum 2-foot clearance around the entire unit.

Be careful when planting around your HVAC unit as well. As the weather warms up, weeds and plants start growing fast and can tangle around and through the HVAC unit. A clean and clear unit is essential for maintaining high efficiency levels and reliability. HVAC technicians also appreciate the clear path.

When clearing the area around your unit, you may notice a pest that has found its way inside. Turn the system off and contact an HVAC technician right away if you suspect that an animal could be in your unit.

Indoors, make sure there is nothing located near the vents, registers, or indoor air handler. The key is to keep the air flowing as freely as possible around your HVAC system.

Clean Air Vents

Once you replace the filters in your unit, you’ll also want to inspect the air vents, ductwork, duct sealing, and the insulation in your home. If the ducts leak, your HVAC unit will have to work harder to push air into each room of your home. If you have damaged or worn insulation, your home won’t effectively keep conditioned air indoors. Cleaning out the ductwork and the air vents not only helps with better airflow, but it also helps to clean the air in your home.

For optimal indoor air quality, now is the time to schedule a professional duct cleaning. Before turning on the A/C, it’s good to free ducts of dust and allergens that have built up during the winter. We recommend a good cleaning every five to seven years.

Inspect/Upgrade Thermostat

Your thermostat has been set to “HEAT” for months now. When spring comes, be sure to switch over to the cooling option. Consider a programmable thermostat upgrade if you do not currently have this convenient and cost-effective piece of equipment in your home. Easily control the temperature of your space whether it’s day or night, you’re leaving the house, or you’re going to bed. Smart thermostats offer energy savings by learning your unique schedule, self-correcting, and providing energy tips and reports.

As springtime approaches, take steps to prepare your HVAC unit for the warmer, wetter weather. For more home energy saving tips and energy options, check out the Home Energy section of our website or give us a call at 1-800-427-8545.