Your air conditioner is a vital part of your summertime routine, keeping you cool and comfortable when the weather gets hot. But like all machines, it needs regular maintenance to keep running at its best. To get the most out of it – and save energy – it’s a good idea to prioritize maintenance. Thankfully, a little effort each season can help you stay cool throughout the summer.
Why Is it Essential to Provide your AC with Proper Maintenance?
Following are the reasons why is it essential to provide your AC with proper maintenance:
To ensure that your AC is working efficiently and effectively- Regular maintenance of your AC will help to ensure that it is working both efficiently and effectively. It, in turn, will help to keep your energy bills down and improve the quality of the air that you and your family are breathing.
To prevent potential repairs- By keeping up with the regular maintenance of your AC, you can prevent any potential repairs that could become necessary if the AC were to break down.
To extend the lifespan of your AC- With proper maintenance, you can help extend the lifespan of your AC unit, which will save you money in the long run.
To reduce your energy consumption- Regular maintenance of your AC unit can help to reduce your energy consumption, which is good for both your wallet and the environment.
What Maintenance Is Required for an Air Conditioner?
The type of maintenance required for an air conditioner will depend on the make and model of the unit. However, there are some general maintenance tasks that all units will require. These tasks include:
Cleaning or replacing the air filter- The air filter is responsible for trapping dirt, dust, and other airborne particles. Over time, the air filter will become clogged with these particles, which can reduce the unit’s efficiency. For this reason, it is essential to clean or replace the air filter regularly.
Cleaning the compressor coils- The compressor coils are responsible for cooling the refrigerant in the unit. If these coils become dirty, they will be less effective at cooling the refrigerant, leading to higher energy bills.
Checking the Freon levels- The Freon is a coolant that helps to keep the refrigerant in the unit at a consistent temperature. If the Freon level is low, it can cause the unit to work harder to cool the air, leading to higher energy bills.
Inspecting the ductwork- The ductwork is responsible for delivering the cooled air from the unit to the rooms in your home. If there are leaks in the ductwork, it can cause the unit to work harder to cool the air, leading to higher energy bills.
What Are Some DIY Tips for Maintaining My Air Conditioner?
In addition to the general maintenance tasks listed above, you can also do some specific things to maintain your air conditioner. These tips include:
Checking the thermostat– The thermostat is responsible for regulating the air temperature in your home. If the thermostat is set too low, it can cause the unit to work harder to cool the air, leading to higher energy bills.
Checking the evaporator coils- The evaporator coils are responsible for absorbing heat from the air in your home. If these coils become dirty, they will be less effective at absorbing heat, leading to higher energy bills.
Checking the condenser coils- The condenser coils are responsible for releasing heat from the refrigerant in the unit. If these coils become dirty, they will be less effective at releasing heat, leading to higher energy bills.
Schedule an annual tune-up– An annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician can help to ensure that your unit is running efficiently and effectively. This tune-up should include a thorough inspection of the unit and a cleaning of the compressor coils and evaporator coils.
How Often should you Service your Air Conditioner?
It would help if you serviced your air conditioner at least once a year, preferably in the spring. However, if you live in an area with high humidity, you may need to service your air conditioner more often. If you notice that your air conditioner is not cooling as well as it used to, or if it seems to be making strange noises, it’s time for a service call. Consult your owner’s manual for specific maintenance schedule recommendations.
When Should you Replace your Air Conditioner?
Most air conditioners will last between 10 and 15 years. However, some units may need to be replaced sooner if they are not properly maintained. If your unit is more than ten years old and requires frequent repairs, it may be time to consider replacing it.
How to Maintain your Air Conditioner?
Begin with a visual examination
While complete AC maintenance is usually left to the professionals, you can perform a visual inspection on your own.
If you have a room air conditioner, check the seal between the metal casing and the window frame at the start of the season to ensure it’s still intact. Moisture can compromise the seal, allowing cold air to escape through your windows and reducing the efficiency of your unit.
Check for debris on outdoor central air units, such as leaves or dirt, and make sure the fan’s internal fins are straight. If you notice a lot of debris, resist the temptation to disassemble the unit yourself. Using a pressure washer, which might harm the equipment, is a typical mistake. When it’s time for a deep clean, hire a professional.
A Thorough Cleaning from the Professionals
Air conditioners, like all of your other appliances, get dirty. The filters, coils, and fins all need to be cleaned regularly for the unit to function correctly. Here are some fundamental steps that a professional can take.
Cleaning or replacing filters: Clogged or dirty internal filters (located inside the unit, similar to the furnace filter) obstruct air passage and diminish efficiency. Think again if you believe this won’t make much of a difference. Replacing a clogged filter can reduce your unit’s energy consumption by 15%.
Cleaning evaporator coils: Evaporator coils cool warm, humid air inside your home before recirculating cooler air. Clean filters help keep these coils clean, but dirt will accumulate. The evaporator coil can be inspected and cleaned by a professional if necessary.
Cleaning the drain: Condensation is formed when humidity in the air collides with the excellent evaporator coil. An evaporator drain is there to catch the liquid from the coils, like the sides of a glass of ice water dripping onto a coaster bottom. Mold and algae can grow (and potentially clog the drain), so it’s critical to maintain it clean to keep your unit working smoothly. A clogged drain can also cause flooding.
You can do other DIY things to keep your AC in good shape if you don’t want to hire a professional.
Indoors: To keep your home cooler on hot sunny days, first close your blinds or drapes. Examine the seals on the windows and doors. Apply weather stripping or caulking outdoors if you see that outside air is getting in. This low-cost relocation will also help you save money on heating in the winter. Make sure your ductwork is also adequately sealed. Finally, consider investing in a smart thermostat, which will allow you to keep your home cooler at different times of the day without worrying about it.
Outdoors: Planting trees and bushes near your unit can help hide it from view and provide shade, but be sure the plants don’t obstruct air movement. Cutting back the leaves by at least two feet should suffice. While you’re out there, double-check that your dryer vent is directed away from your air conditioner, and dirt might build up inside your dryer due to lint from the exhaust.
How Often Do AC Coils Need to be Replaced?
The lifespan of a typical set of coils is about ten years. With regular maintenance, you can prolong the life of your coils. Just be sure to have them inspected by a professional every few years to ensure they’re still in good working order.
Replacing your coils is an integral part of maintaining your air conditioner. The coils are responsible for cooling the air inside your home, and over time, they can become clogged with dirt and debris. When this happens, the air conditioner has to work harder to cool the air, leading to higher energy bills.
A professional can clean your coils and get them working like new again. They can also inspect the coils for any damage and replace them if necessary.
Is it Necessary to Service AC Every year?
It would help if you had your air conditioner serviced at least once a year, and this will help keep it running efficiently and prevent any issues from arising. A professional can clean the unit, check for any problems, and make necessary repairs.
It’s essential to have your AC serviced before the summer starts. The unit will be working overtime to cool your home, and if it’s not in good working condition, it could break down. Servicing your AC now will help you avoid any issues later on.
So there you have it! A professional can do just a few things to keep your AC in good shape. By following these tips, you can ensure that your unit will last for years to come.