Prepare your home: 3 steps before switching on your A/C

By David DeRocco

With the mercury climbing and spring sunshine beaming down on those May flowers, it’s almost time to fire up the air conditioning units in homes. Before you do, however, there are three simple steps that the HVAC experts want you to complete before you actually need to use your cooling system.

“The first thing we tell homeowners is to make sure they remove the cover from their air conditioning unit,” said Tracy Burgess, Service Manager at Carleton Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning. “If the air conditioner is at the side of the house, it’s out of sight and out of mind. If you don’t remember to take the cover off you could do substantial damage to the unit. That’s number one on the check list.”

A second step is to make sure the breaker is on. Burgess says that when a lot of people put the cover on their external air conditioning unit each fall they not only shut off the breaker in the electrical panel but some also disconnect it outside. That could create embarrassing and potentially unnecessary but costly service calls.

“We get calls because one person puts the cover on and turned off the breaker as part of the fall maintenance,” said Burgess. “The spouse or partner might be at home and discovers the air conditioning not working, so they call for service not realizing the other person shut the breaker off. Unfortunately, the homeowner is going to be paying for a service call for something as simple as turning on the breaker.”

The third step to complete prior to turning on any A/C unit is to check, clean and/or replace the furnace filter, especially if you have pets or completed any construction jobs that may have generated sawdust or drywall dust.

“The air conditioning system relies on the furnace fan to distribute the air throughout the home,” said Burgess. “If the filter is plugged or dirty, it’s going to reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning and could possibly cause issues such as the system freezing up. This is the time of year to look at the filter and clean it if it’s washable or replace it if it’s disposable.”

One of the mistakes people often make during air conditioning season is to open a window while the A/C is running or operate their HRV. “You’re doing two things,” said Burgess. “You’re allowing heat in and you’re allowing humidity in, the two things your air conditioning unit is trying to remove. It’s not wise.”

For more information or to book your service call, visit Carleton Refrigeration Heating and Air Conditioning at 150 Industrial Ave, Carleton Place, or online at Call them at 613-257-8282 or 1-866-557-8282.

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