Summer in Baltimore, MD is hot and damp. If you’re new to the area, expect daytime temperatures in the mid-80s and humidity as high as 75%. Fortunately, you can keep your home cool and comfortable all season long by priming your air conditioner for the season. To help you get started, the following are ways to make your AC summer-ready.

1. Schedule Annual AC Maintenance

Always start your summertime AC maintenance by scheduling professional tune-up service. A pre-season tune-up will keep you compliant with the terms of your AC manufacturer’s warranty. It will also improve the efficiency of your cooling system for lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint, protect your indoor air quality (IAQ), and ensure reliable performance. During these visits, our technicians:

  • Inspect and clean indoor air handlers
  • Clean, disinfect, and deodorize AC condensate drains and drain lines
  • Clean evaporator and condenser coils
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Test and adjust AC blower motors and blower fans

We also verify the integrity of all electrical connections, calibrate thermostats, and inspect and replace HVAC air filters among other things.

2. Have Your HVAC Air Ducts Inspected

Ragged, dirty ducting and loose air duct connections can subject your air conditioner to extra and unnecessary stress. Leaky ducts can also take in unfiltered air from dusty building areas like your attic, basement, or crawlspaces. Although we check HVAC ductwork for rips, perforations, crushed sections, and other damages during AC tune-ups, you should schedule a separate appointment for general duct maintenance. All HVAC systems require annual air duct services. If you didn’t have your ducts professionally maintained before the heating season, be sure to do so before summer arrives.

3. Clean up Around Your Outdoor Condenser Unit

Central air conditioners have indoor air handlers and outdoor condensers. Your air conditioner’s condenser is installed on a stable concrete or composite pad in your backyard or side yard. Check this unit to ensure that it has no less than two feet of clearance on all sides. Remove all leaves, twigs, rocks, and other debris, and cut back all nearby grasses, shrubs, and trees. You should also look for signs of pest infestations, including obvious points of entry, built-up detritus, foul odors, and nests.

Check the Integrity of the Condenser’s Concrete Pad

An important part of your pre-season AC condenser maintenance is checking the position and integrity of its supporting concrete or composite pad. If heavy spring rains have led to loose, shifting soils or significant soil compaction, your condenser could be lopsided and unsteady. We can level your displaced condenser to ensure that this heavy, highly pressurized unit is both safe and stable.

4. Get Caught up on General Property Maintenance

Take care of all property features that have the potential to damage your outdoor condenser unit when ill-maintained. For instance, you should schedule roof inspection and maintenance services to identify and address loose shingles and tiles, detached gutters and downspouts, and other heavy, unstable roofing elements. This way, strong winds and other weather events don’t send these things crashing down onto your cooling equipment.

It’s also a good idea to have your trees pruned so that weak and dying branches can be preemptively removed. By thinning out dense canopies and eliminating low-hanging foliage, a tree care expert can prevent both impact-related condenser damage and many common, summertime pest infestations.

5. Inspect Your HVAC Air Vents

Make sure that the HVAC air vents throughout your home are clean. If you’ve ever run your HVAC system with a dirty air filter installed, your vents could have heavy buildups of lint-like material just behind them. In these locations, this blown-off filter debris inhibits airflow, increases AC stress, and causes dramatic rises in indoor humidity. You can wipe your air vents clean with a soft, damp cloth, and you can remove all vent covers and gently vacuum behind them.

It’s also important to make sure that all of your HVAC air vents are at least partially opened. Throughout the year, residents might close air vents throughout their homes to direct unwanted cooled or heated air away from the immediate vicinity. These closures increase static pressure in ducting and could cause your air conditioner to overheat, shut down, or short cycle. If two or more vents are closed throughout the building, it’s often best to schedule air-balancing services rather than simply opening them back up. During air balancing, HVAC technicians strategically refine vent positions to optimize airflow and ensure even air delivery.

6. Check and Adjust Your Thermostat’s Setting

As the outdoor weather changes, it’s important to adjust your thermostat’s setting to reflect your new temperature control needs. According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), you reduce your summer cooling costs by up to 10% by simply raising your thermostat setting by just seven to 10 degrees when going to bed or leaving. With a smart or programmable thermostat, you can pre-set these temperature adjustments at the start of the summer season. You should also make sure that your HVAC fan is set to “AUTO” rather than “ON” and that you’ve noted all performance alerts and maintenance reminders.

7. Prepare for Summertime HVAC Air Filter Changes

Throughout the year, you should inspect your HVAC air filter monthly and change it once every 30 to 90 days. During the high-demand cooling season, many local filter suppliers run out of these products. Stock up on high-quality HVAC air filters before summer starts. You’ll need between two and four air filters to carry you through the summer months.

If you’ve never changed your HVAC air filter before, ask for tips during your pre-season AC tune-up service. Dirty air filters lie at the heart of many common AC and indoor air quality problems.

8. Address Ongoing IAQ and Humidity Issues

The primary role of HVAC air filters is to create and maintain ideal operating conditions for heating and cooling equipment. These components extract dirt, dander, pollen, and other airborne particulates before they settle on cooling coils or other sensitive, interior components. However, even with a fresh filter in, air conditioners can struggle to keep homes cool due to excess debris or high humidity. If there’s too much moisture in your indoor air or if your living space is rife with contaminants, your air conditioner’s efficiency will go down and your indoor comfort will suffer.

Consider scheduling an IAQ assessment to learn more about the quality of your indoor air and the need for additional mitigation strategies. These assessments measure real-time humidity and list all present contaminants and their concentrations. Although air conditioners offer limited humidity control and air filtration, some households require integrated HVAC accessories like whole-house air purifiers or dehumidifiers for extra support. While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining indoor humidity between 30% and 50%, having outdoor humidity that’s as high as 75% often makes integrated accessories essential.

Since 2013, we’ve been proudly serving Baltimore, MD and the surrounding cities. We offer exceptional heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality services. We also provide air duct sealing, duct cleaning, backup generators, and geothermal HVAC services. For help with your pre-season AC maintenance or to sign up for our HVAC preventative maintenance plan, get in touch with At Your Service Heating & Cooling LLC today.

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