We enjoy pleasant summers here in the Sioux Falls, SD area … for the most part. The average high temperatures for July and August are both above 80 °F, and on one particularly brutal June afternoon in 1988 the temperature maxed out at 109.9 °F. We’re sure the people without air conditioning weren’t exactly thrilled on that day!

Fortunately you’re not one of them. You’ve got your central AC already in place, and it’s ready to roll the second the thermometer starts going bananas.

Or is it? You don’t want to wait until you can fry an egg on the hood of your car before you discover your central AC needed spring maintenance. Here’s what you should do right now to prepare your AC for the summer!


1. Trim Intrusive Vegetation

Your AC unit doesn’t like having its personal space invaded. Once you have covered your condenser (i.e. the large outdoor component of your central AC system), trim away any plants growing nearby. Shrubs and other larger plants should be at least 3′ away from the base of your condenser. No plants which grow to more than 6″ in height should be within 3′ from the base of your condenser.


2. Disconnect the Power

Your central AC is an electricity hog. Most models require a 220 or 240 volt circuit for operation, and they may also require as many as 5,000 watts when they spring into action.

You don’t need to be an electrician to know that volts and watts aren’t good for your health. That’s why your second step to spring AC maintenance is to completely turn off your AC’s power. First access the service panel and turn off the power running to the condenser. Then locate your unit’s disconnect box, which typically contains a lever or circuit breaker, and disconnect the power there as well.


3. Check the Filter

A dirty filter won’t just fail to clean the air running into your home. It will also force the AC unit to work harder, which will appreciably shorten its lifespan.

As much as we enjoy providing AC repair in Sioux Falls, we’d rather you save money whenever possible. It’s recommended that you check your home’s air filter at least once per month. You may gently clean the filter if it appears to be in good condition, although monthly replacement for economical fiberglass filters is typically advised. A HEPA filter is usually worth the extra investment, as it may last up to half a year!


4. Clean the Condenser Coil

Your AC unit’s condenser coil contains liquid refrigerant (i.e. the chemical which cools down your homestead). The condenser coil is as sensitive as it is important, and it demands annual cleaning to operate at peak efficiency.

Your central AC’s condenser coil is located within its condenser unit. Begin cleaning it by removing any leaves or other debris that may have become lodged in the grille and fan. Next look beyond the fan to the coil itself. If you see debris there as well, remove your condenser unit’s panels and/or grilles. Then remove the top, taking care not to create tension in any wires. Once the coil is exposed, gently brush it with a soft-bristled cleaning implement beginning at the outside and working your way inward. Take additional care not to apply pressure to the delicate coil!


5. Clean the Rest of the Condenser

With the coil taken care of, you can now turn your attention to the rest of the condenser. Clean and clear out your unit’s drain, if it has one, and then gingerly wipe the fan blades inside the blower. Once you have contented yourself that everything looks clean, reassemble your condenser by replacing its panels and grilles.


6. Inspect the Coolant Lines

Your AC unit’s coolant lines transport refrigerant between the evaporator coil and the condensing unit. These twin copper tubes are typically enclosed in insulation sleeves. Check the sleeves to ensure they are intact, as they are vital to the efficient operation of the AC unit. If the sleeves are frayed or otherwise damaged, replace them – or, alternatively, wrap the coolant lines in foam insulating tape.


7. Test the System

If at any point you used a damp rag to clean inside the condenser, wait at least one hour to let it dry. Once you have made certain that the thermostat inside your home is off, restore power to the disconnect box and the service panel. Finally, turn your thermostat back on and set it to cool your home. Once you feel a steady supply of cool air, you’re ready for the worst heat summer can throw your way!

Or are you? The bad news is that you never know when you’ll need an AC contractor in Sioux Falls, SD. The good news is that you’ve already found the best one. Please contact Haugan Heating and Air Conditioning if you ever lose your cool!