You might not use your air conditioning all year long, but when you do need it, you’re glad it’s there. Air conditioners cost an arm and a leg to replace; the trick to getting the longest lifespan out of your air conditioning, and to keep it running efficiently, is to perform regular maintenance and service on it. Here are a few tips for maintaining healthy air conditioning system:
- Have it checked out by one of the air conditioning repair companies in your area during the off-season. Even the best heating and cooling systems develop small issues from time to time, and those small issues can turn into big issues if they are ignored. The last thing you want to do is wait until you’re in triple digit weather to turn your AC on and realize it doesn’t work.
As you would assume, air conditioning repair companies are their busiest when the weather is hot. If you haven’t made necessary repairs to your AC before you’re desperate for cool air, you’ll be stuck (in a hot and miserable home) behind 100 other homes on the air conditioning repair companies’ to-do lists.
Additionally, many air conditioning repair companies offer far lower rates while their repair guys have little work to do during the winter. Do yourself a favor, and get in the habit of having your heating and air conditioning system serviced by professional HVAC contractors when you need it the least.
- Clear away debris around your condenser or compressor. The most vital organ in your heating and air conditioning systems is the compressor that pulls air in from outside and turns it into that icy cold gold they keep you comfortable during the summer. Or does the opposite during the winter — If you have a single unit for both your heating and air conditioning systems, your condenser just works in reverse during the winter.
If you have debris, or weeds and buildup around your condenser, it cannot work efficiently. Not only does it have to work a lot harder and cost you a lot more in energy expenses to get the job done, this eventually leads to it burning out. Make sure to do a visual scan before turning your air conditioning on for the season and clear away anything that could block your air conditioning condenser or compressor from breathing freely.
- Clean the fins. The fins of the air conditioning unit block junk from getting inside its critical parts. As the fins get caked with dirt, they run less efficiently. Before you turn your air conditioning on for the season, follow these steps to clear out out the fins:
- Turn the power to your air conditioner off at the box.
- Take the lid off of your air conditioning, and spray the fins down both inside and out with your garden hose on low-pressure, as high-pressure water could damage them.
- If your air conditioning fins are in particularly bad shape, you can find a commercial grade fin cleaning solution at your local hardware store. Make sure to follow the directions precisely.
- You can always bring in a contractor to take care of this for you if you are not equipped to do it yourself.
- Change your HVAC air filters. Your air conditioning filters are the gatekeepers that keep dust, allergens, and gunk from the air conditioner’s vital organs and from being blown into your face. When you do not change your air conditioning filter out, it slows down the air flow rate throughout your whole system, making it have to work extra hard to keep you cool. This wracks up your energy bill fast, plus the added stress can burn your whole system out. Not to mention, having a clogged air filter prevents it from efficiently getting pollution out of the air you breath.
As a rule of thumb, you should plan to change air filters out twice a year, before you switch from AC to heat or back from heat to AC. If you live in an area that has a lot of dust, you should do this more often. An air filter is inexpensive and easy to change, and can make a big difference your air conditioning’s efficiency.
Do you have any other great AC maintenance tips? Please share them below!