Before turning on your central air conditioner, whether it is a new unit or you are getting ready to use it for the first time in a season, there are some things you need to look after first. The best way to proceed is make a list of the steps involved and check them off as you go. That way, you will be able to track any problems or issues that arise and can arrange a service call if necessary. Before starting any of these procedures, make sure that the air conditioning breaker switch is in the “Off” position.
List of Steps Before Turning on Your Central Air Conditioner for the First Time
Check the Condenser Fan
The condenser fan is located in the condenser box, which is the large metal container outside of your home. Remove the grill that covers the fan and clean the blades with a vacuum cleaner’s attachment brush. You should also vacuum out the bottom of the condenser box to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated over the winter.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils are located inside the condenser box. Remove the screws holding the top and side panels in place to gain access. The coils look like fins on a radiator; you can either clean them with a vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment or give them a spray-down with your garden hose.
Check the Coolant Lines
The coolant lines need to be checked for leakage and insulation continuity. Damaged or leaking lines must be replaced by a professional contractor. The coolant pipe lines must also be covered by insulation. If you see any damaged areas of insulation, they need to be cut off with a sharp utility knife and replaced. You can buy the insulation at a hardware store.
Change the Filter and Check the Duct Work
Change the filter in your HVAC unit before you turn the air conditioner on for the first time. Check the duct work to look for seams which are unsealed or otherwise damaged. They must be either repaired or replaced before the unit is turned on.
Check the Battery in your Thermostat
Make sure that the battery is working. You may want to head off any battery-related issues by simply replacing it.