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It’s time to think about air conditioning

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

It may not seem like it is ever going to get warm enough to need the start up the home air conditioning again, but those hot and humid days are actually only a few short weeks away.

Better to be getting it ready for action now, then to discover your cooling system doesn’t work when the thermometer climbs up into the 90s again.

Few routine chores will pay off more handsomely, both in comfort and in dollars saved, than a simple air-conditioner cleaning. The payoff: Summertime comfort and lower cooling bills. You’ll also prolong the life of your air conditioner.

The process to get your unit ready for spring is complicated. . Most central air conditioners have two basic parts: an outdoor unit (compressor/condenser) that sits next to your home and an indoor unit (evaporator) that’s located in a central duct near your furnace.

Martin Heating and Cooling is gearing up for a busy spring.

Martin Heating and Cooling is gearing up for a busy spring.

Outside, the main job is to clean the condenser coil. The fan inside the condenser coil sucks air through the fins, and as a result, pulls dirt and debris with it. Dust, leaves, dead grass and anything else that collects on the fins will block airflow and reduce the unit’s efficiency. Grass clippings thrown by the lawn mower and “cotton” from cottonwood trees and dandelions are particularly bad offenders. Two copper tubes connect the outdoor compressor and its condenser coil (a “coil” is a combination of fins and tubes) to the indoor evaporator coil that’s located in the plenum above the furnace blower. One tube is covered with foam insulation. The process is complicated, but a contractor can make it simple to get your unit ready for the season.

For a small fee, an expert (there are several in the area (including Martin Heating and Cooling just west of Clare) who will come in and tune up your cooling system to manufacturer-rate efficiency, and you won’t have to “sweat the first hot weekend with an out-of-commission air conditioner.” There are several local businesses that specialize in making your summer cool and comfortable, so make this a priority on your spring “to-do” list.

By the way, remember to check the filters on your air conditioner every month and replace them at least every three months so your conditioner isn’t working harder than it has to. And if your unit is a window air conditioner, seal around it to keep the cool air in and check the air filter regularly during the cooling season.

Kristyn Smith of Martin Heating and Cooling, Inc. said scheduling an annual spring check up and clean up for your air conditioner is the easiest way to ensure your air conditioner is ready to keep you cool this summer.

She said there are several steps a homeowner should take.

1. Call to schedule an annual AC inspection and tune-up. Your technician will perform a comprehensive inspection to find any potential problems that could lead to a breakdown. A dirty, unmaintained unit can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in extra energy costs each season, while also shortening the lifespan of the unit, so a tune-up is cheap insurance.

2. Replace your furnace filter.  Clean filters enable your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, causing less wear on the motors and parts. It will also keep the air in your home cleaner and healthier.

3. Fix the little problems before they lead to a breakdown. If your air conditioner is not effectively cooling all areas of your home, or you notice unusual noises coming from your air conditioner.

4. If your current air conditioner is old and inefficient consider replacing it with a new unit.  Martin Heating carries a full line of Amana furnaces and air conditioners that could be more efficient to save you money.

5. Get an early start and try your air conditioner before the first 70 degree day to insure proper working condition and to avoid any interruption of service when air conditioning is needed.

6. Every year Martin Heating gets a ton of  phones calls regarding air conditioning problems  leaving some customers waiting a day for service that could have been avoided with an early check of your system.

Brad, of Lake, and his brother Dave Martin, of Clare, have owned Martin Heating and Cooling since purchasing it from parents Ron and Kelly Martin in 1999. Ron and Kelly began the business in 1972 in Coleman and moved it to Clare in 1977.

Martin Heating and Cooling specializes in Amana furnaces and air conditioners. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The phone number is 989-386-3791 and their email address is ksmith@martinheating.net.

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