On the surface, Northern California probably doesn’t seem like it has all that much in common with Ancient Greece. We’re a thoughtful bunch here, of course, but we’re not nearly as concerned with philosophy as they were. We don’t wear togas (the occasional Halloween party excluded) and my guess is there are a whole lot more skateboarders in our neck of the woods than there ever was in theirs. One thing we do have in common, though, is that we have the exact same climate.
Northern California has what’s known as a Mediterranean climate, which, much like Ancient Greece, means our summers are hot and dry while our winters can be wet and rainy. On account of this, some things are rare here during the summer: clouds, precipitation of any kind, and days in which the high temperature doesn’t creep above 90. This creates another big difference from Ancient Greece—we tend to run our air conditioners all summer long. This takes a toll on any HVAC system, so it’s important for homeowners to know some summer AC maintenance tips.
Not paying attention to these tips can lead to an AC break down, potentially meaning you’ll need to wait to get your air conditioner repaired during a week of 100-degree heat advisories. If this happens, you’ll probably understand better why the breezy toga was so popular in Ancient Greece, but I’d wager your preference would be to avoid this firsthand knowledge.
The Top 5 Northern California Summer AC Maintenance Tips
- Clean your air filter or have it replaced
- Give the outside unit room to breathe
- Check for leaks or puddles
- Keep an eye on your thermostat
- Get a professional tune-up
Summer AC Maintenance Tip #1: Clean and Replace Your Air Filter
I’ve talked in the past about how a dirty air filter can cause an air conditioner to freeze up, but it’s worth reiterating here. During periods of regular AC use, more air is passing through your filter, raising the likelihood that it will bring debris with it. When too much debris gets caught in the filter, you need to change it. Otherwise it could make it difficult for air to flow freely, which can cause your AC to work harder and lead to a breakdown. You don’t have to be Socrates to understand why this would be a bad thing in a mediterranean climate, where triple degree high temperatures are always lurking.
And, yes, I know changing your filter regularly can be a hassle, but there are plenty of HVAC companies who are more than happy to come take care of this on a monthly basis for you so you don’t have to fit it into your busy schedule.
Summer AC Maintenance Tip #2: Clear Debris Away from Outside Unit
Northern Californians like to spend as much time as possible during the summer outdoors, playing with the kids in our yards, doing landscaping, or hosting epic barbecues. We may not realize it, but sometimes these activities lead to debris or yard toys piling up around our exterior AC units.
Keeping the outer unit clear and in the open is an easy way to ensure your HVAC will be able to cool your home..
To function properly, an air conditioner needs to be able to draw air into the outside unit, which it then cools and circulates through our homes. If there’s too much debris preventing this from happening, it may lead to your AC unit not working properly. Keeping the outer unit clear and in the open is an easy way to ensure your HVAC will be able to cool your home all throughout the long summer of our Mediterranean climate.
Summer AC Maintenance Tip #3: Check Drip Pans for Leaks
In keeping with our Ancient Greece theme, we could also phrase this one as “an unexamined drip pan is not worth having.” The obvious point of having a drip pan is that if a leak happens in your AC unit, it won’t spill all over your floor. But the more important thing is that finding too much liquid in this pan is a great indicator that something is wrong inside your air conditioner, something that could soon lead to a break down.
Liquid dripping out of your HVAC system during the summer is one of the most tangible indicators that something has gone wrong.
Liquid dripping out of your HVAC system during the summer is one of the most tangible indicators that something has gone wrong. It’s often how to tell if your home AC compressor is bad, which can be a tricky piece of equipment to work with. In other words, if you find a full drip pan, I’d suggest calling a trained professional technician to identify and fix the cause ASAP.
Summer AC Maintenance Tip #4: Keep Careful Track of Your Thermostat
One way to avoid an AC breakdown during our hot Northern California summer is to not over-use your air conditioning. A prime way to make sure you don’t do this is to keep an eye on your thermostat, being careful to not run it unnecessarily while you’re out of your home. This will also lower your electrical bills throughout the year, which I’m sure the no-frills ancient Greeks would also approve of.
One of the things I suggest all homeowners look into for this is a smart thermostat…
Thermostat management, I know, can be a bit tricky. One of the things I suggest all homeowners look into for this is a smart thermostat, which can make it quite a bit easier. Call your friendly neighborhood HVAC pro to learn more about this. FYI, you can also save money on power bills by installing a smart thermostat.
Summer AC Maintenance Tip #5: Get an AC Tune-Up from a Pro
Much like taking care of your car, the most reliable way to keep your AC running is to get a tune up. To be sure, summers in Northern California’s Mediterranean climate are a busy time for HVAC professionals, but if you plan ahead, you’ll have no problem arranging a tune-up. These tune-ups will make sure that the filter is changed, the AC compressor clear, and everything else works as well as possible.
The best summer AC maintenance tip is to call a pro to make sure your equipment is not headed for a break down.
So, there you have it. The best summer AC maintenance tip is to call a pro to make sure your equipment is not headed for a break down. Or, as Socrates probably would have said if he lived in Northern California and had a home with air conditioning, true AC knowledge exists in knowing that you have to have regular HVAC maintenance performed by a professional if you want to stay cool during 100-degree days. What a wise, wise man.
Follow these summer AC maintenance tips to avoid a breakdown. Call the trained professionals at Bell Brothers to get started today.
Image courtesy Unsplash user Corina Ardeleanu