5 Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Home's A/C Running Cool

Written by Posted On Monday, 26 January 2015 12:53

You won't need any certification in HVAC repair to keep your outdoor or indoor unit running smoothly through the year's hottest months. These five maintenance tips to keep your home A/C running cool fall under the class of routine maintenance and inspection, which means it only takes a little time and effort to get the most out of your unit.

Change Air Filters Regularly

A clogged or dirty filter can significantly impact your unit's performance, leading to some warmer than expected living arrangements. The blocked filter causes changes in airflow, which allows particles to travel into the unit's evaporator coil. Over time, collected dirt makes it harder for the coil to absorb heat. Check your air conditioner's filters on a routine basis, about once per month, and replace clogged filters as you find them to combat dirt and debris build up. If you have reusable filters, clean them just as often.

Lower Your Electricity Bill: Routine maintenance can lengthen the life of your air conditioner and decrease your energy costs. The cost of installing a new air conditioning unit can be high and is something you can avoid just with monthly maintenance. Also, the less energy used means you pay less to keep your home cool when the weather heats up.

Clear Dirt From Condenser Coils

If you have an outdoor A/C unit, its condenser coils and fins can easily accumulate dirt, leaves, and other dusty debris that can damage their functionality. Your outdoor dryer vents, nearby trees, and lawn care equipment can add to the problem, forcing dirty air into the system. Keep the condenser coils clear by trimming trees, pruning bushes or shrubs, and clearing at least a two-foot radius around your outdoor air conditioner. This distance should keep airflow around the unit reasonably clean during its operating months.

Monitor Coil Condition: Even in the best circumstances, condenser and evaporator coils accumulate dust and dirt. Check these coils as part of your routine maintenance schedule when you inspect your unit's air filter.

Keep Drain Channels Clear

Adequate drainage for water runoff is necessary to keep your air conditioner functioning at peak levels. Clogged drain channels and base pans can back up into the unit, ruining its electronics and your carpeting in the process. Excess condensation from a room air conditioner retaining water can also damage surrounding walls, causing discoloration and even mold growth. To prevent a costly home remodeling project, push a wire brush through the unit's drain channels every 30 to 60 days. Use a firm brush to avoid simply compacting a potential clog and making it worse rather than removing it.

Room A/C Units: Check Window Seals

Window mounted air conditioners need tight seals to keep the cool air they generate inside and stave off moisture accumulation. If the seal is not tight and leaks air, your energy bill can increase drastically. Before installing an A/C unit when the summer season begins, inspect your chosen window frame and make sure the A/C unit's casing sits flush against the wood. Check window glass for rattling or small cracks that can cause air leakage. Vibrations during operation could worsen these cracks. If you notice wood warping that prevents the unit from resting tight in the window, you may need to choose another mounting point and address your looming window problem.

Protect Your Unit During Winter

Even after the summer ends and winter is on its way, you still need to protect your air conditioner from incidental damages that impair its function. For a room air conditioner, store it in a cool, dry place with a cover to prevent dust and dirt from building up. Don't store the A/C unit near your heating ducts since its proximity can cause more debris to accumulate. If you have central air, you need to cover the outdoor unit to guard against winter weather, including falling leaves, ice, and snow. An uncovered outdoor unit is at the mercy of the elements if severe weather damages it beyond simple repair - and so is your bank account.

Always listen for odd sounds coming from your air conditioner. Even if you clean the system regularly, mechanical problems can occur. Stay alert, and you'll keep your home cool and your monthly energy bill reasonable.

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