How to Prepare Your AC for Fall

As the dog days of summer wind down and we look forward to the cooler weather ahead, it’s time to thank our trusty central air conditioning system for a job well done and give it some well-earned time off. But that doesn’t mean simply switching the thermostat to off until next summer.  In fact, giving it the TLC it needs now helps ensure it’s prepared for the the change of season and ready to keep you cool and comfortable once summer rolls back around.

Here are 5 proven ways to prepare your AC system for fall.

1. Clean or replace the air filter. Much like the air filter in your car that keeps things running smoothly, your AC filter works non-stop to keep dirt, dust, allergens, and other pollutants out of the air inside your home. A filter that is dirty and clogged makes your central air system work harder than it should to keep you cool, leading to increased wear and tear, premature repairs, and shortened equipment life.

2. Check the thermostat. Make sure the thermostat responds to settings and keeps your home at the desired temperature. Still have one of those old mechanical-style thermostats? Now’s the perfect time to upgrade to a programmable model or a WiFi-enabled smart thermostat. Either option means no more cooling (or heating) an empty house; just program the system to raise or lower the temp to your liking so it’s perfectly comfortable upon your return.

3. Keep the area around the outside unit clean. The condenser – the outside component of an AC system – needs to have plenty of room to ” breathe” in order to operate effectively and efficiently. Keep shrubs, trees, and other plantings about three feet away from the unit and periodically inspect the area for any sticks, leaves, and debris that may accumulate.

4. Clean interior vents. Avoid covering vents and registers with furniture, area rugs, toys, or any other obstructions to maximize air flow and improve overall air quality inside your home. Take this time to dust or vacuum vents so they don’t send dust back into your living space once you turn the heat back on for the first time.

5. Schedule preventative maintenance. We get it – you kept meaning to have your AC system inspected but life managed to get in the way. Might as well wait until next spring, right? Wrong! You still have plenty of time to have this important service performed – as long as the outdoor temp is above 60 degrees F for a minimum of three consecutive days. Preventive system maintenance catches minor issues before they become costly emergency repairs, helps your system operate at max efficiency, and extends equipment life.

For annual preventive maintenance or any heating or cooling need, contact the pros at Relief Heating and Cooling. In and around Piedmont Triad, no one is better suited to keep your home comfort systems operating smoothly and to your complete satisfaction.

Do I need to Replace My AC Compressor?

Few things are as frustrating on a hot summer day – or night – than realizing your central air isn’t performing as it should. If it’s a quick, easy fix, consider yourself lucky. But if the compressor is failing, a replacement can set you back a pretty penny. If your AC is pushing the limits of its expected lifespan, you may be better off replacing the entire system instead of pumping more money into an old, inefficient system. On the other hand, replacing the compressor may give your AC many more years of cooling comfort.

What Is an AC Compressor?

As the heart of an AC system, the compressor pumps liquid refrigerant through the appliance’s coils and condensing unit. The refrigerant draws heat out of warm air, thereby cooling the air which the fan then blows throughout your home. Many factors can cause a compressor to begin to fail, such as faulty electrical components, compressor motor failure, leaking refrigerant, or insufficient refrigerant levels.

Do I Need a New Compressor?

The only way to know if you need a new compressor is to have the AC unit inspected by a licensed Relief Heating & Cooling professional. However, there are some warning signs that can indicate a problem may be brewing. Here are the most common to watch for.

  • Excessive Cycling – Is your AC cycling off only to kick back on a few minutes later? The culprit can be as simple as an open window or a leak in the ductwork allowing warm air in, or a more serious issue like a compressor ready for the recycling heap.
  • Temperature Inconsistencies – A compressor that isn’t running as it should be is unable to sufficiently cool areas of the house farthest from the AC unit, resulting in inconsistent indoor temps.
  • Excessive Noise – It’s common to hear a low humming noise while your AC is running. But rattling, knocking, or clanking could signify a problem with the compressor.
  • Reduced Air Flow – A struggling compressor is unable to produce sufficient cool air, resulting in prolonged cycling and inconsistent temperatures in different areas of the home. In fact, an AC unit may not cycle off for hours if the compressor is operating at a deficient level.
  • Refrigerant Leak – A refrigerant leak can cause frequent cycling, insufficient airflow, a lack of cool air, and more. If the leak is due to a worn out compressor, replacement will be necessary.

Relief has two surefire remedies – one for an AC system that isn’t operating up to par, and another for one that is. First, if you’re just not getting the comfortable distribution of cool indoor air you once did, contact us for expert system analysis and a guaranteed price quote on what needs to be done to make matters right. Or, if you’d rather not wait for a problem to jump up and bite you, contact us for a very thorough tune-up and inspection, especially if it’s been a year or more since your system was last professionally maintained. When it comes to home heating and cooling issues, Relief is right around the corner.

AC Tune-up Checklist in Greensboro

AC Tune-up Checklist in Greensboro

The importance of preventive care cannot over-stated. Take your health, for example. Ideally, you see your primary care doctor at least once a year, not just when you’re sick. It’s during these preventive exams that your good health is confirmed, or minor issues can be addressed with little if any time lost.

Well, the same is true with your home’s mechanical systems – including central air. You expect it to deliver perfectly cooled air when you need it. Yet without a regular check-up, you could face underperformance, unexpected breakdowns, and even complete system failure on perhaps the most uncomfortable days of the year.

AC Tune-up Checklist in Greensboro

What Can I Expect from an Annual AC Inspection & Tune-Up?

Regular HVAC maintenance helps your system run more efficiently and safely, reduces your operating expenses, extends the lifespan of the unit, and improves your overall comfort level. A thorough tune-up and inspection will include such key steps as the following:

  • A comprehensive cleaning of the condenser coils to increase efficiency and reduce wear and tear
  • Measure the coolant level to maintain peak operating performance
  • Lubricate all moving parts to eliminate friction and wear and keep energy costs down
  • Calibrate thermostats to verify proper operation
  • Inspect ductwork for cracks or gaps that can result in energy loss
  • Tighten and inspect all electrical connections for safe operation
  • Test all safety controls
  • Test combustion air
  • Check the blower and blower motor
  • Check and clean filter as needed

Benefits of Annual AC Inspections

In addition to energy and cost savings, an AC inspection includes several other benefits.

Maintain the overall health of your family. Over time, dirt, dust, and even mold can accumulate inside your ductwork, contaminating the air and triggering allergies, asthma, and other respiratory symptoms.

Eliminate energy waste and prevent breakdowns. During an inspection, your technician can pinpoint areas of concern that, if not addressed, can lead to future breakdowns and repair costs.

Keep system warranties valid. If you fail to have your HVAC system serviced regularly, you could be invalidating the manufacturer’s warranty, leaving you high and dry should something go awry with a part or component.

Enjoy more comfortable indoor air. Dirty ducts, clogged filters, and escalating indoor humidity can make a home feel less than inviting during the hottest months of the year. Proper maintenance can help ensure that the conditioned air circulating through your home is as clean and healthy as possible.

In Greensboro and throughout the Triad, more and more careful homeowners call on Relief Heating & Cooling to keep them cool and comfortable all summer long. We can do the same for you – simply contact us today to schedule service.


The Importance of Accurate AC Sizing

Air Conditioning Greensboro | New AC System Greensboro

Is your current central air system costing more to operate than it once did – while, at the same time, not delivering the level of indoor comfort you once relied on? Are you now experiencing a combination of cool and hot spots when before all rooms cooled off to roughly the same temperature? Or perhaps you’re noticing more frequent and costly repairs to keep your system humming along.

If so, it might be time to consider investing in installing a replacement AC system. Today’s models are more energy efficient – up to 95% and higher. And yet unless the system is of sound quality and properly sized, you won’t enjoy all the benefits it can offer.

Air Conditioning Greensboro | New AC System Greensboro

Importance of Central Air Conditioning Size

An undersized unit will run constantly as it attempts to cool your home. That means more wear and tear, and higher energy bills. The constant wear and tear will eventually lead to more frequent repairs and shorter than expected equipment life.

On the other hand, bigger isn’t always better. An oversized unit will reach a desired temp and shut off before it has a chance to effectively remove any lingering humidity. You’ll find that your home never feels quite as cool as you’d like, and the constant cycling on and off leads to increased energy bills and unnecessary wear and tear.

To ensure that a new or replacement central air system delivers the cooling comfort and energy efficiency you can depend on, an experienced cooling specialist will analyze several key factors to determine the correct system size for your home.

House Size

A home’s size is the starting point in determining a household’s cooling needs. Determining factors include home style, square footage, ceiling height, number of rooms, and layout. For example, the cooling needs of a 1,500 square foot ranch style home can be significantly different than an open-space-concept home of the same size.


A home in Texas will have different cooling needs than a home in Vermont, even if they’re identical. But similar homes in the same town may have different needs as well. Is your home surrounded by trees or does it lack protection from the sun’s rays?


Windows make a home feel light and bright, but depending on the type, number, size, and location, they can also be a source of energy loss. Single-pane windows are less energy-efficient and thus require more tonnage from a central air system. As energy-efficient as double and triple-pane windows are, a home filled with large picture or Palladian windows will have different cooling needs than one with smaller sized windows.


Insulation plays a key role in keeping a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Building codes have minimum insulation requirements but older homes constructed before those codes went into effect often lack proper insulation. No matter the age of your home, make sure your attic has adequate insulation and seal or caulk drafty windows and doors to prevent summer heat from penetrating your home and cool air from escaping.


A home’s ductwork also plays a significant role in determining proper AC system sizing. Leaky, improperly situated, or poorly installed ductwork will require more from your AC and result in higher energy usage and costs. For new system installs, proper duct installation and placement is essential to the system’s efficiency and overall home comfort.

It all comes down to this: to get the most for your investment in enhanced indoor comfort, you need the whole package: a highly skilled contractor like Relief Heating & Cooling who is experienced in proper sizing, precision installation, and ongoing system maintenance. And, of course, you need a high-quality AC system as the centerpiece. Contact us today and ask for a free in-home cooling analysis and free new system proposal.