Exercising proper air conditioner preventive maintenance is a must if you want to keep cool when temperatures rise outside. This becomes especially true if you live in an area where the climate is hot throughout the year. The last thing you want to happen is for your AC to malfunction when you need it most. To prevent such an unfortunate event from occurring, this guide will feature several air conditioner maintenance tips to keep your unit running properly.
The Easiest Step in Air Conditioner Preventive Maintenance - Changing Your Filter
Even if you are not the most technical person around and have no experience working with AC parts, changing your filter is probably the simplest tip when it comes to air conditioning maintenance. The reason why changing your filter is so important is that you can reduce a lot of the burden on your system. An AC that has a filter that is clogged and full of dust or other particles will expend more energy than one with a clean filter. You can find replacement filters at home improvement stores or even at certain grocery stores. Most are inexpensive, but you need to make sure that you get the right match to fit your system. Once you have the replacement filter, installing it can take just a few minutes to complete. In the end, your AC will function more efficiently, which will lower your energy bill and extend its life. You will also reap the benefits of having cleaner air in your home. As for how often you should change your filter, doing it every month or every other month, depending on your personal preference, should be fine. The simplicity and low cost of changing your filter makes it a home air conditioner maintenance tip that you should definitely employ.
Another Part Essential to Cooling Maintenance - Air Conditioner Coils
Air conditioner filters are certainly important parts in the realm of air conditioner maintenance, but so are coils. If coils are not properly maintained and left unobstructed, your system will have to use more energy than it should to function properly. This could eventually lead to your system overworking itself and breaking down. The AC coils and fins on your outside unit can be cleaned rather easily with a standard broom and a garden hose. You can also use a nylon brush if you prefer. Wash the parts to get any obstructing elements off of them, such as leaves or other debris. While you may think that using a pressure washer will do a better job of cleaning the parts, you should never use one, as its strong spray could actually cause more harm than good. If you have an inside AC unit, you can clean it in a similar manner prior to installing it for the hot months and before storing it away for the cold months.
Keep Your Unit Free from Obstructions
A common theme with home air conditioner maintenance is the importance of eliminating obstructions. Whether it's the filter or the coils, an obstructed AC will wear down quicker than it should. It's quite likely that your outside AC unit is surrounded by plants, shrubs, trees, or fencing. These can block your unit's air flow, so you want to make sure that there is at least one foot of free space between your unit and any other objects. The same holds true for an indoor unit. You want to keep it unobstructed, so avoid having curtains or drapes hanging over a unit while it is in operation.
Adjust Your Thermostat According to Your Schedule
Believe it or not, your thermostat can play a great role in air conditioning maintenance. How? The more your AC runs, the more strain is put on the system. If you work during the day, you should set your thermostat at a higher temperature so that your AC will not run as much while you are gone. You can lower the temperature as soon as you get home. This reduces overall strain and AC use and also results in a lower energy bill at the end of the month. If you have a window unit, you should turn it off when you leave home since window units typically use more energy than outdoor units meant to cool entire homes. A window unit will cool a room in little to no time at all, so you won't have to sacrifice much in terms of comfort by simply shutting yours off when you are not around. To keep your home cooler while you are gone, close your curtains or blinds to block out the sun.
Many thermostats now come equipped with innovative technology that will allow you to program your thermostat to fit your exact needs. If you are lucky enough to have one of these in your home, use it to your advantage to optimize your system's usage and maximize its life over the long run.
Contact an HVAC Professional to Perform a Yearly Tune-up
Just as oil changes are essential to keeping cars running properly, a yearly tune-up is an important part of air conditioner maintenance. You should perform all of the aforementioned tips to keep your AC running properly in addition to having an HVAC contractor come out once a year to perform preventive maintenance. Air conditioner tune-ups typically involve various tests to make sure that all of your unit's internal parts are functioning as they should. A contractor will also check your filter to make sure it's clean and charge your unit with refrigerant during a tune-up.
If you are located in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, or South Carolina, ACSoutheast.com can help you find a reputable contractor in your area to perform routine air conditioner maintenance. In addition to tune-ups, the over 200 dealers and contractors, many of whom are NATE certified, you will find in our directory can help with the installation, replacement, and repair of a wide variety of Bryant and Carrier cooling and heating systems. ACSoutheast.com does not supply HVAC products or services directly, but we will help you find an HVAC professional in your area to fill your needs.