Maintenance Steps For An Air Conditioner That Isn't Used For Several Months

It's not unusual for an air conditioner to go unused for some time during cooler months of the year. However, if your air conditioner goes for long periods of time without being used or maintained, it's a good idea to take a few extra precautionary steps before turning it on again for the first time.

Get an Electrical Inspection

One of the most important steps when bringing an air conditioner back to working order is to make sure it can run stably and safely. While electrical problems are more likely to occur in an easily replaceable component rather than the main circuit itself, it's best to make sure everything is functioning correctly before you turn it on and begin to use it normally. Your air conditioner likely uses a dedicated circuit, which means it can be hard to tell if there's any circuit trouble based on how the rest of the circuits in your home are working.

Along with the circuit itself, components like the start and run capacitors and the fuses will likely be checked. These are commonly replaced parts, and fuses in particular can often be picked up at a local hardware store. These parts should still last at least a few years, but if your air conditioner has gone unused for a while and still been exposed to the elements, they may experience some trouble -- especially if the circuit powering your air conditioner was live the whole time.

Trying to run your air conditioner with existing electrical problems could damage more expensive components, so the longer it has been since you've used your air conditioner, the more important it is to perform this step.

Examine and Repair Air Ducts

Air duct maintenance can fall to the wayside amidst typical annual repairs, but since they're responsible for carrying air into your home, they're worth examining. Generally, your ducts should be inspected every three to five years, which becomes more important as the ducts get older. Aging ducts can start to lose their insulation and airtight seals, resulting in less air getting into your house and air that has begun to warm before it gets there. An additional and more serious risk is pests getting into your ducts, which becomes more likely if there are holes or gaps in your ducts. This can post health risks, especially if there is waste from these pests left in your ducts.

A duct inspection will therefore benefit you on two fronts. First, it will make sure that your air conditioner is energy efficient by reducing air loss and properly insulating your cool air until it reaches your house. Second, it will ensure your ducts are clean and free of pests, which can reduce allergic reactions and other health issues.

Clean the Compressor

A compressor that's gone some time without being used is likely to need at least some basic maintenance, like a cleaning and inspection of its parts. This can be easily done by calling out a technician to examine for you, but there are also several things you can do yourself.

  • Clear away any plants, objects, or debris from around the compressor.
  • Open up the compressor to clear out any debris from inside; these can potentially cause physical damage to moving parts. You can use a vacuum to do this if it's easier.
  • Spray down the outside of your air conditioner with a hose to clean the fins, then make sure all the fins are straight and undamaged.

Cleaning your compressor also helps you spot any signs of damaged parts you might not otherwise notice until something goes wrong. If you notice any damage or something that doesn't look right, call a technician to examine it before you turn on your air conditioner again.

In the future, you can protect an air conditioner by housing or covering it when you don't plan on using it for a while. While compressors are meant to weather the elements, any additional protection helps it last longer.

Reach out to your local residential air conditioning services for more information.