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Things to Do Before You Turn On AC After Winter

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Spring is an excellent time for cleaning your home. Maybe you spend your spring emptying drawers, arranging shelves, putting away boxes, and getting ready for summer. 

Besides turning down the furnace, what else should we do to welcome summer? 

Summers in Oregon are already extended and humid. Summer can feel really long for some of us who prefer brisk weather. 

Thank goodness for air conditioners! Wait…don’t touch that dial just yet. If you want to turn ON the AC after winter, it’s best to ensure it’s ready first. 

Gearing Up Your AC for Summer

Winters in Oregon aren’t exactly the coldest in the country. Still, winters bring cooler temperatures, prompting most of us to forgo using air conditioners. 

While some may prefer cold weather all year long, most homeowners keep their air conditioning systems off during winter. 

Keeping your air conditioner off during winter helps you save on energy consumption and lessen your carbon footprint. It’s a practical notion most Oregonians practice. 

Still, nothing comes without a “downside.” Keeping our AC systems off to save energy can still expose your home to its own hazards.

Before using your air conditioner for summer, take some time to perform preparatory tasks during spring. These diligent steps may save you from experiencing mechanical failures during summer.

Can you turn your air conditioner ON immediately after winter?”

As your AC units stay dormant for a few months, they may gather some light snow, dust, leaves, dirt, and other debris. 

Dormant air conditioners may also allow pollutants and “intruders” into your home’s pipes and ductwork. Who knows what or who is seeking shelter from the winter weather inside your air conditioner?

Hastily turning your air conditioner on may cause foul odors, obnoxious noises, health hazards, and mechanical damage. Don’t worry, we are here to tell you when and how to turn your air conditioner on safely.

Below, you will find ways to ensure your AC system weathers through the warm and wet climate of a good ol’ Portland summer.

Can I Maintain My Air Conditioner By Myself?

Sure you can! If you are used to conducting DIY efforts, why not? However, it’s best to leave comprehensive AC services to the pros. 

We can’t emphasize the importance of safe and proper management enough. We know how easy it is to fall into a rabbit hole of DIY articles, but you might not find everything you need online. 

HVAC technicians undergo years of training to understand how each component works and how they affect the entire AC system. They may work on your air conditioners more efficiently, using less resources. 

If you are keen on taking a more proactive approach, here are some aspects you can work on independently. 

Inspecting Indoor and Outdoor Units

Take a look at the indoor and outdoor units. Are there any leaks, burnt stains, or corrosion? These visible indicators should tell you everything you need to know about your AC system and whether it’s safe to use or not.

Your air conditioner might not be helpful this summer if critical resources leak or deplete. If there’s a leak, your air conditioner may have compromised supply lines and refrigerant levels. Leaks must be addressed or remedied before turning your air conditioner on again. 

Leaks may also lead to burning and corrosion. Turning the air conditioner on while there is an active leak only leads to damage. 

Leaks making their way into electrical components can dampen motors, short-circuiting your entire AC system. Corroded elements indicate a leak has gone unnoticed, cultivating rust and other damage. 

You should seek professional advice regarding these issues as they may lead to worse damage.

Cleaning AC Air Filters

Air filters take the brunt of various buildups. They prevent all sorts of pollutants from saturating critical components. 

However, like most things, they can only take so much. You might have fiberglass, pleated, or HEPA filters, depending on your AC type. 

Multi-zone Systems

Mini-split and window-type air conditioners typically have air filters behind their front panel. The front panel of both air conditioners is removable, providing users access to some internal components. 

You may dismantle the front panel and access the air filter. These filters can be cleaned with a wet-dry vacuum or baking soda mixture. However, you should consider AC filter replacement if they are visibly stained to avoidspreading contamination.

Central Cooling Systems

Central AC systems have air filters that are easier to dismantle and replace. Fiberglass and pleated air filters are typical for central HVAC systems. They are mostly accessible and placed on top of air vents. You may clean them or replace them. 

You may also examine their filters for other growths within your air conditioning system. If you notice black dust in or around its panels, you can assume the dreaded black mold present within your AC system. 

Black mold is hazardous and spreads quickly. Do not attempt to remedy this yourself. You cannot DIY mold. 

Call for professional mold remediation experts and cooling specialists.

The Importance of Giving Your AC System a Spring Cleaning 

How important is it to give your AC system attention during spring? Here are some ways to gauge its importance. 

  • How important is it to clear your home of any junk during spring?
  • How critical is cleaning leaves and gunk from the garage or gutters around your home?

Spring cleaning is essential to help us keep hazardous elements out of our indoor spaces. Neglecting your air conditioner during spring cleaning can make most of your other efforts ineffective. 

We also clean during spring to prevent pollen and dander from giving us seasonal allergies. While we may clean various pollutants off our drapes, they may settle within your air conditioners. 

The Dangers of Poorly-Maintained Air Conditioners

Think of spring AC maintenance as a way of preserving all the effort you spent mopping, dusting, and sweeping your home. 

Exposing all of your home’s fixtures to contaminated airflow negates all the time and energy you put into making your home spotless. You may still experience stuffy nose and scratchy throat symptoms no matter how much you clean your home.

Mild symptoms aren’t the only ways poor AC maintenance may impact your home. Here are some of the most commonly reported issues regarding poorly-maintained air conditioners:


Clearing our ductwork and outdoor condensing unit of any pollutants helps protect our entire air conditioning system. We must ensure every element of our air conditioner is free from contamination and particle buildup. 

Remember, any buildup is harmful to mechanical systems. Clogs, blockages, and residual buildup within internal components may cause malfunctions. 

When one set of components is compromised, another may be thrown into overdrive. Overcompensating components wreak internal havoc, consuming more energy to produce lower-quality output.

Keeping our air conditioners clean and pristine is a good way of guaranteeing none of their components are compromised. Our air conditioners can achieve peak efficiency when all components work freely and cohesively. 

Costly Replacement and Repairs

Mechanical malfunction can mean two different things:

  • Components performing inadequately
  • Components performing excessively

While they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they entail the same thing for your air conditioner. Whether performing too little or too much, malfunctioning components lead to the same disastrous outcome.

All that chaos causes dents in your finances, warranting costly repairs. Costly services you may avoid by paying your AC systems a little more attention.

Conducting a thorough inspection and cleaning of your AC system during spring is a small price to pay for your peace of mind. Remember that the potential damages malfunctioning components cause range between minor and significant repairs. 

It is dangerous to misinterpret the latter for the former, thinking that a clog won’t cost us too much. AC damage doesn’t take long to impact the entire system, especially when we don’t act on them fast enough.

Neglecting minor problems may age your air conditioners much faster. Frequent malfunctions shorten your AC system’s entire lifespan. 

While you paid for an AC system that should last up to twenty years, you might suddenly have to pay for a whole-system replacement after only a few years.

When Should I Reach Out to HVAC Professionals?

Air conditioners require frequent upkeep. If you don’t have the necessary equipment or skills to conduct AC maintenance tasks, you can hire someone to take it on for you!

You should call professionals between seasons to evaluate your AC units. You aren’t spending on unnecessary expenses. Gearing up your HVAC systems prevents untimely system failures and other hazards. 

If you are confident enough to clean your air filters, pipelines, and other attachments, you should get to it during spring. However, routine maintenance isn’t only for comprehensive cleaning. 

You need routine AC tune-up services to ensure your air conditioner doesn’t miss a beat this summer. 

Who You Can Call for Reliable AC Maintenance Services in Portland, OR

The Sunset Heating & Cooling Company is some of Portland’s finest HVAC contractors. We also serve Portland's neighboring areas, including Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Yamhill, and Hillsboro. We don’t roll the dice on your comfort and safety. 

Your home always comes first with Sunset Heating & Cooling. We guarantee reliable, accessible, and efficient AC services all year. 

We can help you get the most out of your air conditioners this summer! 

The only thing you must do before turning your AC on after winter is pick up the phone. Leave everything else to our experts.

Call the Sunset Heating & Cooling Team at (503) 500-5866 for AC Repair & Pre-Season Maintenance Today 

What Our Clients Say

Sunset went out of their way to help with my project and David was amazing. Great job and look forward to future projects.

-Todd T.

Roman did an awesome job. I had the trifecta, new AC unit ,furnace and hot water heater. Courteous, and competent service. I highly recommend Sunset Heating & Cooling.

-Charles E.

Eduardo provided excellent service when he repaired our AC. I felt his effort was over and above expected. Polite and professional at all times. Good job!

-William G.

Caring, professional and helpful. Thanks for making things happen quickly and getting my Dear friend's heating back up and running in such a quick manner. You went above and beyond for a family in need and that is very much appreciated. Thanks from the whole group!

-Kristina K.

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