Not paying attention to air conditioning maintenance means you will be more likely to need AC repair service– possibly at the worst possible time! The good news is there are some simple preventative measures you can take to maintain your air conditioning service or all-in-one HVAC system and reduce your odds of having to deal with unexpected AC repair issues. Here are five recommendations to get you started.
- Replace or Clean AC Filters
Filters that are clogged or dirty can make your cooling system work harder, which could contribute to higher utility bills and affect your indoor air quality. In fact, changing or cleaning your filters every few months during the active use months could reduce energy consumption by as much as 15 percent.
Since there are different types of filters, follow the manufacturer’s directions for your particular type of filter. As for location, central ACs often have filters within the return duct. Filters could also be located in:
- Walls or ceilings
- In the furnace if it’s connected to your air conditioner
- Within the the AC unit itself
- In the grill facing into the room — for room/window ACs
- Clean Conditioner Coils
Evaporator and condenser coils are essential AC parts that tend to collect dirt over time as they operate. Accumulated debris reduces these coils’ ability to absorb heat. The evaporator coils on the inside part of your unit should be cleaned at least once a year. Outdoor condenser coils could also be affected by environmental debris such as leaves and dust. Additionally, it can be helpful to:
- Ensure there’s sufficient airflow around your condenser coil
- Trim back foliage about 2 feet
- Clean your dryer vent if it exits near your outside unit
- Don’t Forget Your Coil Fans and Condensate Drains
Aluminum fins on the coils mentioned above are fairly bendable, which can be a problem if the coil fins become misshapen enough to interfere with airflow. Condensate drains primarily get rid of excess moisture. If these drains are clogged, your air conditioning system may have trouble keeping humidity levels low in your interior spaces. The accumulated moisture could also damage floors or other nearby areas. These drains can be cleaned by passing a stiff wire through drain channels.
- Make Sure Your Window Unit Is Properly Sealed
It’s just as important to be mindful of how well any window units you may be using are inserted into windows. Pay particular attention to the seal between the unit itself and the window frame. You want to make sure the AC firmly meets the frame. If you normally leave your window unit year-round, any seal you have between the unit and frame can become damaged or worn. Simply do a visual inspection whenever you get ready to start using your window units again.
- Take Steps to Prepare Your AC Unit/System for Winter
Don’t just turn off your air conditioner when the temperatures start to drop and forget about it until things warm up again. Instead, be proactive and take some time to ensure your AC system and its key parts are ready for cooler months. One of the simplest things you can do is cover your outside unit. What this does is minimize exposure to leaves and other outdoor debris when your unit isn’t being used for long periods of time.
One other step you can take to avoid big AC repair headaches is to call on comfort professionals to perform routine inspections. A trained service technician also knows how to check all essential components of an air conditioning system and how to spot potential problems early. An HVAC contractor can also help you out with additional maintenance and prevention tips.