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Do These 4 Things Before Turning Your AC Back On

So, it’s safe to say that Arizona’s “cold” weather season is nearing an end.

But wait! Before you reach for that thermostat and turn the AC back on, we’ve got some Arizona energy-reducing, repair-preventing tips for you.

The 4 things you should do before blasting the air conditioner include:


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We’ll explain why each of these tips can make or break your summer comfort…

1. Check your air filter

Most homeowners don’t realize that their heater most likely shares a filter with the AC. So if you’ve been running heat for the past few months (even if it’s only at night), your filter has been sucking up and trapping air pollutants non-stop.

And, if your filter is clogged (and looks like the filter to the right) you need to change it immediately.

Dirty Air Filter

Why? Well, a clogged filter will eventually suffocate your AC system. Yes, your AC system has to breathe—just like you. And if a thick layer of dirt/dust is blocking air from getting into your system, it won’t be long until you notice big problems like:

  • A frozen evaporator coil
  • Ice on refrigerant lines
  • Weak airflow from vents
  • Higher-than-normal energy bills

2. Clear the outdoor unit

After a windy winter, you’ll want to make sure your outdoor unit (the condenser) is clear of leaves, sticks, dirt, etc.

outside ac unit debris

Even though it seems harmless, the thin layer of dirt and the leaves stuck in this condenser can harm the AC’s efficiency and raise energy bills.

Why? Your outdoor unit’s main job is to collect all the heat that was removed from the air inside your home. Then, the unit “dumps” all that heat into the outdoor air.

BUT if the outdoor unit is covered in dirt or stifled by a fence or foliage that’s too close, it will struggle to dump all that heat. Think of this as trying to cool off a hot bowl of soup but there’s an airtight lid over the bowl. Seems pretty ineffective, right?

The same goes for your outdoor unit—if it can’t get rid of all the heat fast enough, it will send some of the heat right back into your home, which means lowered efficiency and higher energy bills.

What to do: Use a hose on a gentle setting to spray down the condenser coils.

3. Double-check your thermostat settings

First off, always double check that you’ve moved the thermostat from HEAT to COOL. (You’d be surprised how many repair calls we get from homeowners who didn’t first check this.) But you should also always make sure that your thermostat fan is set to AUTO not ON.

On vs Auto Thermostat

Why? Setting your thermostat fan to ON means that it will run constantly—even when your AC isn’t going through a cooling cycle. And this not only eats up energy, it will actually make your home humid.

Your AC is responsible for dehumidifying your home’s air. It does this via the evaporator coil—an A-shaped web of cold refrigerant coils.

The cold refrigerant inside those coils absorbs both the heat and moisture in the air. So, over time, moisture collects on these coils and “should” drip into a pan. But if you set the fan to ON instead of AUTO, the fan will continuously blow over the cold coils, which means moisture will never have a chance to collect and drip into a pan. Instead, the moisture is pushed right back into your home.

Setting the fan to AUTO, on the other hand, means the fan turns off between cooling cycles, allowing time for the moisture to collect and drip into the drain pan.

The bottom line? Setting your fan to AUTO means better humidification and lower energy bills. Related: “On vs. AUTO: One of These Thermostat Settings Costs You Big Time”.

4. Schedule AC maintenance

We know what you’re asking: “But why would I get maintenance now? I haven’t even ran my AC yet!”

We know—that’s the point. When you schedule AC maintenance before the heavy cooling season, you’re making sure that any small problems are resolved before the AC starts running non-stop. Scheduling a maintenance visit now prevents those small problems from turning into larger problems and compromising your comfort when it need it most—in the middle of an Arizona summer.

Not convinced? Just check out our blog “4 Ways a Tune-Up Prevents Your AC From Breaking Down”.

Set yourself up for AC success this summer: get AC maintenance now

Ready to schedule your annual AC maintenance? Then just contact us.

We’ll be sure to send a technician out when it’s convenient for you.