Winter gets COLD, but Summer is HOT, HOT, HOT! When it's time to think about turning off the heat and crankin' down the AC there are things you should do to make your system ready to take on Florida's brutal heat.
Folks up north know how to "winterize" their homes. However, here in the sunny south, we sometimes forget that it's just as important to "summerize" our homes. Between pools and air conditioning, summer produces the highest demand of the year for energy in Florida. Making sure your air conditioning system is operating at its most efficient level is imperative if you do not want to see those electric bills skyrocket like the Space Shuttle blasting off from Cape Canaveral!
If you have a problem, you can address it before things heat up. Turn your unit on, and check the air temperature at your return and one of your supply ducts. You should measure an 18-degree difference from your supply to your return. This is easily measured with a simple thermometer.
Hold the thermometer as close as possible to the supply and then return to ensure the most accurate reading. If the difference is at least 18 degrees, you're good to go; if not, you might have a problem. That's probably a good time to call a professional!
Check your filter. Clean it if it is the type that can be cleaned; otherwise, replace it.
Check the batteries in your thermostat, if applicable. By the way, this is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors (not AC related, I just threw that one in for free).
Next, take a walk outside and look at your condenser. If it's excessively dirty or there is mold on it, wash it off. Also, make sure that, if you have shrubs surrounding the condenser, that air flow is not inhibited. If they are, grab a trimmer and clip away!
Clean your drain line, it is usually near your outside unit, is about 6 inches tall, and looks like an upside down hook.
To clean the line, attach a Shop-Vac hose to the end of the plastic pipe and turn on the Shop-Vac to vacuum out all of the dirty water that's been sitting in the line for months. You can get more aggressive by removing the panel at your air handler and first pouring a cup of vinegar, then a gallon or two of hot water, into your drain pan, and then repeating the Shop-Vac step.
Make sure you turn the electricity off to the unit before removing the panel!
Not doing so could create a whole new batch of problems that would require the summoning of medical professionals as well as AC professionals!
Now, if you're not quite that ambitious, but you want to be ready when things heat up, just call Energy Air to come out and service your unit for you. We'll clean it, inspect it, and make sure everything is working as it should be.