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Air Conditioner Maintenance — Always Important, Including at Summer’s End

Published on: September 5, 2013

It may not feel like it yet, but summer in the Southeast will soon be coming to an end, and before you know it, you’ll be putting your air conditioner to bed for the winter. But that’s no reason to skimp on air conditioner maintenance now. Maintaining your system until the very end will save you energy dollars, help extend the life of your system, and prevent common air conditioning problems.

Ongoing Air Conditioner Maintenance

These tasks will keep your air conditioner humming at top efficiency until it’s time to flip the switch over to heat.

  • Check your air filter every month and replace it when it’s dirty. Dirty air filters are one of the most common causes for air conditioner maintenance and repair calls. A clean air filter ensures optimum airflow to your system and prevents dust from building up inside and damaging essential components. As an added bonus, a quality air filter will improve your indoor air quality by trapping particles such as mold spores, bacteria and viruses.
  • Hose down your outdoor condenser unit once a month to remove matter from the metal fins. Over time, debris such as grass clippings and other airborne particles become trapped in the metal fins and inhibit airflow to your system. It also can build up on the condenser coil inside, preventing the optimum exchange of heat energy from your home to the outdoors and reducing system efficiency.
  • Remove plant growth from within 15 inches of your outdoor condensing unit. Weeds and other plant life can reduce the airflow to your system, making it work harder to keep you comfortable.
  • Keep the area around your indoor A/C unit clean and free of dust, which can find its way inside your system and damage the fan, motor and other components. Debris can also end up in your condensate pan and clog the drain, which will result in overflow and shutting down your system.
  • Remove obstructions such as furniture, rugs and draperies from in front of your supply and return ducts to ensure optimum airflow.
  • Schedule preventive air conditioner maintenance. Ideally, your annual preventive tune-up should be performed in the spring, before cooling season commences. But it’s never too late to benefit from preventive service by a qualified HVAC technician. This will increase system efficiency, save money on utility bills, extend the life of your system, and help prevent the need for future service and repairs.

End of Season Cooling Tips

You can save a considerable amount of money on your energy bills by following these cooling tips for the end of summer and early fall.

  • Program your thermostat for cooler mornings and evenings. As the days become cooler, you may not need your air conditioner to run on the same schedule as during the hotter part of the summer.
  • Open your windows on cooler evenings and keep them open in the morning until the sun begins beating down on the house.
  • Keep your window shades closed during the warmest part of the day to prevent solar heat gain from making your rooms warmer.
  • Avoid using heat-generating appliances during the day, which can heat up your kitchen and adjacent rooms quickly.
  • Use your ceiling fans in occupied rooms to provide a cooling effect. Turn them off when you leave the room to keep your electricity bill in check.

End of Summer Air Conditioning Maintenance

When it’s time to turn off your air conditioner for the last time this fall, these tips will help you close it down for winter so that it’s ready to go come spring.

  • Hose down the outdoor unit thoroughly one last time to remove debris from the fins. Allow it to dry for a few days, and lay a sturdy plywood board across the top. If you plan to cover the outside unit, make sure you use a custom-made jacket that allows for ventilation. You want to keep moisture from getting trapped inside and rusting parts.
  • Remove debris such as plant growth and dried leaves from around your outdoor unit.
  • Drain the water hoses. If you air conditioner has a water shutoff valve, close it.
  • Clean out your condensate pan and flush the drain with a solution of one gallon warm water to a quarter cup of vinegar to remove mold and other biological contaminants, and to remove debris that has settled in the drain over the course of the summer.

AirConditioningSouthEast.com is dedicated to helping residents of the Southeast United States find quality, reputable HVAC service companies and contractors. For more expert advice about end-of-summer air conditioning maintenance, please contact us today.