Tuning up your air conditioner
Before you plug in the AC and crank it up, there’s some things you can do to keep it running efficiently.
- clean it. Remove the filter and clean it out, even if it looks relatively clean. A dirty or partially clogged filter can reduce efficiency dramatically.
- wipe it down. Using a cloth, carefully wipe the outer coils or grill. (Be very careful – the grate is very sharp and can slice easily!)
- inspect it. After you remove the filter, check the area around the compressor and coils. Vacuum it out if it is dusty.
- remove debris and hair. If you have pets, your unit is much more apt to be clogged with pet hair and dander. Remove large debris from the unit.
- inspect the controls. Make sure they are in working order. The most important control is the thermostat.
- test the unit. Install it, and plug it in. If your unit has a thermostat and digital temperature gauge, test the unit by forcing the compressor to turn on and verify the temperature using an infrared thermometer or probe thermometer. Usually, the compressor will turn on a few seconds to minute after the unit begins to sense cooling is needed.
- if the compressor fails to turn on, shut down the unit and verify the temperature in the unit and the thermostat reading of the unit. If the compressor still fails to turn on, it may be damaged.