Buying a new home is an exciting experience. You have a lot of things to think about, like making sure all your belongings arrive safely and are arranged as you want them and getting your utilities hooked up. With all the decisions to be made, not to mention all the unpacking that must be done, thinking about your air conditioning unit is probably one of the last things on your mind. But it shouldn’t be. Checking out a few important facts about your AC unit will save you time, money, and headaches down the line.
Know the Details
Check out your AC system, so you understand how it works. Where is the unit located? What is the make and model of the system? How old is it? When was the last time it was serviced? You should find out your AC unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) score. The SEER rating of an older system is lower than a newer model and is less likely to have incorporated newer energy-saving technology. An older system will likely cost you more to cool your home.
Learn the Mechanics
You’ll want to check out the location of your thermostat and test it to make sure it’s cooling properly. Is the thermostat programmable? If so, you’ll want to learn how to program it for optimal cooling during those hot summers. You’ll also need to find where the air filter ducts are located and write down the size of the air filters your unit uses. Also, you should know where your circuit breaker is located so the power can be turned off, if necessary, during maintenance and repairs.
Is There a Warranty?
You may want to have your heating and air conditioning units checked out by a professional before moving into your new home. One important thing to know is if you have a warranty. If so, you’ll want to find out exactly what is covered and what to do if a problem arises. Certain repairs or maintenance tasks could void the warranty, so it’s important to understand all the terms and conditions of the policy fully.
Change the Air Filter
Many new homeowners want to add their own touch to their new place and change out small fixtures before moving in. You might want to consider changing your AC unit’s air filter just as a matter of course when moving in. A new, clean filter will improve the cooling capabilities of your AC system right away and will rid your home of any allergens left by the previous owners and their pets. Manufacturers recommend changing your air filter every 6 months, but many homeowners prefer to do it as often as once every 1 to 3 months.
Clear the Landscaping
The outdoor AC unit is probably the most expensive part of your AC unit, so you’ll want to make sure the unit is clear of all foliage, branches, and yard debris. If you’re planting new bushes, make sure they’re at least 24 to 36 inches away from the unit. If you have mature foliage near the unit, keep it trimmed 12 to 18 inches away from the unit. Do not place anything above your outdoor unit, such as an awning.