March is here and it is the time of year that we all start making our yards look beautiful again. We look at updating our landscaping and start spending more time outside playing with our kids and pets, grilling, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine again. With the official first day of spring coming up this week, we wanted to share with you some great tips and things to keep in mind that will help ensure your landscaping will not affect your Heating and Cooling system.
Check Your Outdoor Unit For Debris
During the fall and winter seasons leaves, small branches, pinecones and other items can build up on and around your outdoor unit. Before turning on your air conditioning system, it is best to check the outdoor unit and clear away all the debris that may have collected over the last several months. This will ensure that nothing is keeping your unit from breathing and getting the air it needs to run. While clearing away debris from your unit it also a good idea to check your armorflex and make sure the freon lines going into the house are fully covered and nothing has pushed it down or ripped it.
Things To Keep In Mind While Updating Your Landscaping
Now, we all know that the outside A/C units can be an eyesore and distract from your beautiful landscaping. While a common fix to this is to plant bushes and hedges to hide your system, there are a few rules to follow so that your air conditioner can still run efficiently. First, make sure that any plants, flowers and bushes are planted at least 24” away from the unit on all sides. This will allow your plants and shrubs to have some room to grow and not impact the air flow to your system.
Secondly, if you are laying mulch, gravel or bark, you will want to leave a decent gap around all sides of your unit. Your outdoor system is like a vacuum and pulls the surrounding air into the unit to cool your home. Having ground coverings right up to the edge of the system could allow small pieces to get sucked into the equipment and damage the fins and/or condensing coil. As long you take these two things into consideration, you will be able to successfully camouflage your unit into your new landscape while at the same time avoid preventing or disturbing air to your system which could result in your system having to work harder and run longer to cool your home, all of which can lead to break downs and major repairs.
Pets Can Cause System Damage Too
With the weather getting nicer our pets are going to want to spend more time outside as well. It is important to keep your pets way from your unit as they could possible urinate on the unit and over time could cause corrosion of the system which will eat away at the fins and coil, causing irreversible damage.
Routine Maintenance Is Key
Like any complex machine, it is always a good idea to have routine maintenance performed on your system at the beginning of the air conditioning season. Although you have been using your heat over the fall and winter months, you’re A/C part of the system has been sitting there not being used, collecting dirt and dust. You do want to ensure that whoever is completing your maintenance cleaning performs a condenser coil chemical wash. A professional chemical wash will foam up and get into the fins and helps release the dirt, grass clippings, pollen and grime that has built up. Andy Lewis Heating & Air Conditioning offers a maintenance plan that start at only $17 a month and includes the chemical wash, contact us today to learn more!
Even if your home and HVAC system is new you should sill have routine maintenance scheduled. There is a lot of dirt, dust and debris that is stirred up on construction sites and this will actually result in making your system dirtier faster. Not to mention that many HVAC manufactures will void their warranty on the system if it hasn’t had routine maintenance performed. By starting a maintenance program when your system is new you will be keeping the coils outside as well as the rest of the system clean from the beginning which will help your system perform at peak efficiency, have a longer life span and help prevent costly repairs and system break downs.
Check & Change Your Filters Regularly
Moving to a few things you can do inside your home to help your system. One is checking your filters. With the season changing, now is the perfect time to check and change your filters. In our region we experience more run time in the spring and summer, then we do in the fall and winter, due to the extreme hot weather we typically see beginning in spring and lasting through early fall. Because of the extended run time more air will be going through the filters which may need to be changed more often during the AC season. Setting a reminder on your calendar to check your filters every month will ensure that you don’t forget and help you catch dirty filters before they get clogged, restrict airflow and cause system problems and/or failure.
Keep Your Indoor Temperature Consistent & Save Money
Keeping your thermostat on and at comfortable temperature throughout the day will help not only your comfort level but your electricity bill as well. The best way to accomplish this is to never turn the air conditioning off and to keep it within a four degree differential when not at home. This is because, as your home heats up, humidity builds within your home and things that you wouldn’t even except hold humidity, such as your furniture, rugs, curtains and etc.
You’re A/C system does pull out a lot of that humidity, however your system will need to work hard and continuously run for hours to bring your home back down to a comfortable temperature and humidity level. If you do want to raise the temperature inside you home while you are away, just remember these key points: Keep it within four degrees of the temperature you like when at home and have it set to come back on a few hours before you typically get home. This will give your system a head start in adjusting back to your comfort level before arriving home, as your system will typically cool down your home one degree each hour. Another thing that helps with your systems run time is to keep you curtains, blinds and doors closed as much as possible. This allows the house to stay cool and prevent solar gain within your home with can result in longer than needed run time!
Andy Lewis Heating & Air Is Here For You!
Unlike your furnace, when you turn you’re A/C on for the first time you should not smell anything coming from the system. If your system does have a smell coming from it or if it is making unusual noises turn the system back off and call an expert out to look everything over. If you go to turn on your system for the first time and the system won’t come on, check your breakers to ensure you didn’t accidently turn the breaker for the system off during the off season. If your breaker is on and the system still won’t turn on, schedule a heating and cooling company to come take a look as it could be a number of things causing the problem.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you get ready for the warmer weather. If you have any questions, system concerns or would like more information on the Andyman Preventative Maintenance Plan, contact Andy Lewis Heating & Air today. Our technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get your air conditioning back up and running for you as soon as possible!