Prepare now for turning on your AC

It’s warm, it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s warm, and it’s hot …. And the cycle seems to be never ending this year!  But one thing we can be sure of is that it will get hot within the next few months and you will want to make sure your AC equipment is ready to go when it does.  Doing some preparation now can help ensure residents are able to keep their cool when the mercury reads in the triple digits for days on end.

There are a few things homeowners can do right now that will help your air conditioner run more efficient and reduce the risk of mechanical problems when it’s scorching hot outside.

One of the easiest and cheapest things to do is change the air filter on a regular basis. It is a good idea to put in a clean filter every month. Clogged filters can keep an air conditioner from cooling properly.

Be sure to cut back any shrubs or tall grass that may have grown up around the outside condenser unit. These things can restrict air flow around the unit and reduce its cooling ability.

Check the top of the outside unit for leaves or pine needles that may have fallen on it. If you see that the condenser is full of leaves or other debris, have it cleaned by a qualified technician.

Although they may be tiny, ants can cause big problems for your AC unit. Ants can infiltrate the condenser unit and cause it to shut down.  Eradicate any ant mounds close to the condenser unit.  You can contact our County Agriculture Agent and he can help you figure out how to get rid of those ant hills. 

Other critters such as raccoons, mice or other rodents can cause a lot of damage to the ductwork. If homeowners see signs of damage, repair holes or tears immediately.

If you haven’t yet turned on your air conditioning unit, pick a warm afternoon and turn down the thermostat so the unit will run for at least 15 minutes. Homeowners may want to consider running the unit periodically throughout the year to help maintain its viscosity.

It’s always a good idea to have your air conditioning system checked out by a professional at the beginning of the season.  It’s much better to discover any problems while it’s only 75 degrees as opposed to making that discovery in the triple digit Oklahoma heat.

Article adapted from Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.