New Homeowner: Checking System

Checking your new home’s AC system involves several steps:

  • Making certain the existing unit is blowing cool air.
  • Changing the filter or cleaning it if it’s dirty.
  • Assessing if the fan or blower is clogged, which if so requires professional attention.
  • Checking condensation drain lines for mold and algae, and, if these are present, running some bleach through the line.
  • Checking the thermostat.

Typically, homeowner’s insurance policies only cover catastrophes, not repairs or malfunctions.  For example, if your outdoor unit is damaged due to a felled tree from a lightning strike, your homeowner’s policy will replace the unit.  Otherwise, replacement due to usage and wear is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

New homeowners should replace air conditioning filters monthly.  Coolant level and pressure should be among those items reviewed during your inspections, as are the calibration of thermostats to check proper cycle and temperature.  Wiring and contacts of your AC unit should be tightened, and assurance that the unit’s evaporator coil is clear needs to be done at inspections.  Also involved in these inspections are assurance that the condensate drain is clear, inspection and cleaning of the condenser, including lubricating the condenser fan motor and checking the condenser amps at start-up.  These are among the safety and efficiency checks to be done when your unit is inspected, which also should be done prior to moving into your new home.

Should any problems be reported by your AC repairman at the time of inspection, be advised that a new high-efficiency AC unit can save you 20 to 50% energy savings over an older, less efficient unit.

Besides assessing whether your unit needs fine-tuning or replacement, a number of energy-saving measures should be undertaken when moving into your new home.  These include:

  • Checking the insulation in the attic.
  • Lowering AC temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Installing ceiling fans in most rooms
  • Wrapping exposed water pipes with insulation
  • Installing a programmable thermostat and learning its operational guidelines.
  • Replacing air filters.
  • Clearing dust and obstructions from vents in all rooms.
  • Marking cracks on basement walls with masking tape to assess if they grow larger over time.
  • Hanging a clothes rack in the laundry room or hanging an outdoor clothesline.
  • Checking toilets and under sink plumbing for leaks and constantly running water (checking faucets, too).
  • Installing LED or CFL light bulbs.
  • Choosing energy-efficient appliances.
  • Setting up electronics with smart strips.
  • Planting shade trees near the house.
  • Changing locks and making spare keys.
  • Air sealing the home.
  • Taking advantage of any tax breaks afforded to you.
  • Developing a maintenance checklist (monthly and annually) and reviewing items on these lists frequently.