Keep Your Cool: What To Do Before Turning On The A/C

Oklahoma's crazy weather means you may be turning on your air conditioning in February! Here's what to check before you fire up the A/C. 

What to Do Before the Air Conditioner Goes On

Following these tips will help you to get the most from your central air system and keep it running efficiently:

  1. Walk outside and take a look at your air conditioning system’s outside unit. This is called the condenser. If you covered the condenser over the winter, make sure to remove the cover before you turn it on.
  2. Remove any objects or vegetation within 18 inches of the unit. It’s not a bad idea to take a hose and spray off the coils. Use a hose with a nozzle and spray the coils at a 45-degree angle to remove debris between the fins.
  3. Back inside the house, check the filter for the air conditioning unit. Homeowners often overlook the inside part of the central air system, and this is where many problems begin.
  4. Changing the filter regularly is the best thing you can do for your central air system. Change it once a month in the summer and use a pleated filter.
  5. Before you turn on your central air system for the first time, make sure you have a new filter in place and that there are no gaps where the air can pass unfiltered.
  6. Now that you have inspected everything, it’s time to make sure the breaker and/or disconnect switch to the condenser is turned on. After this is done you might want to close all the basement vents. You will want the air from your system to be concentrated on your middle and upper floors, where it is needed the most.
  7. Now that you have prepared your central air it’s time to flip the switch. Turn your thermostat to “cool” and turn the fan to “auto.” Turn the setting down to 68 degrees or so for the purpose of these next steps.
  8. Once you hear the system come on, go back outside to the condenser and make sure the fan is spinning. You also should hear the hum of the compressor.
  9. Walk back inside. Listen for anything abnormal with the furnace blower. Should you see or hear anything unusual, turn the system off immediately.