Winter is around the corner, and the dense clouds are preparing to give way for the winter storm. And, of course, you are making necessary preparations to winterize your home, including repairing roof leaks, insulating water lines, cleaning out gutters, installing insulation, and last but not least, scheduling your annual AC maintenance service. The air conditioning system plays a critical role during winter and summer. It helps to maintain ideal temperatures in your home. It is good practice to have the systems serviced at least once a year, preferably before the onset of winter. However, there are other essential things to do alongside the maintenance to keep the AC in good working condition. They include the following:
Get Professional Maintenance
Like your car, your AC requires regular servicing to protect it from costly and unexpected breakdowns. It is essential to schedule a biannual or annual inspection and maintenance for your unit. During the checkup, the AC technician will inspect the system for any malfunctioning parts, leaks, and other problems that require repair. In addition to that, they’ll do the following:
- Check and clean refrigerant, fans, blowers, coils, and controls
- Inspect and replace filter and fan belts
- Evaluate temperature and pressure
- Lubricate bearings and motors
- Inspect components and wiring
Don’t Overwork Your AC
Overworking your unit reduces its efficiency and lifespan. There are a variety of crucial things you can perform to reduce the strain on your AC, including:
- Insulate the home properly
- Install thick blinds on sun-facing windows
- Cover windows with drapes and blinds during the day
- Run fans instead of the whole system
- Drink plenty of water during summer to stay cool
- Dress warmly and drink hot beverages during winter to warm up your body
One of the essential components of the AC is the filter. It cleans up the air entering and exiting the system by removing dust, debris, allergens, and cigarette smoke particles. An old and clogged filter causes inefficient airflow in the system and reduces the quality of air inside the home. Essentially, you should replace the filter once every three months. However, it is advisable to change it once every month during the high-use season – winter and summer.
Fix Air Leaks
The system is overworked when air is leaking in and out of the home. Windows and ducts are the biggest culprits when it comes to air leaks. If you truly want to control the air temperatures in your home, try to keep your windows closed. Also, keep the drapes down during the day, more so during the scorching days of summer. This is because windows allow in a lot of heat that can interfere with indoor temperatures. A lot of heat and cold air is also lost through the system’s ductwork. You can avoid air leakage through the ductwork in three ways:
- Sealing and refitting poorly installed ducts.
- Increasing insulation around ducts.
- Using metal tape, foil tape, or mastic sealant to cover leaks and holes.
Keep the Unit Clean
The most significant rule in AC maintenance is keeping it clean. The parts that require cleaning include refrigerant, fans, blowers, and coils. Pay attention to conditioner fins when cleaning up the AC. They play a critical role in cooling and distributing air, but they are prone to dust and debris buildup. They require frequent vacuuming to ensure adequate airflow into the system. Use a brush with soft-bristles to vacuum the fins. But do it cautiously to avoid crushing or bending the fins because they are quite fragile.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A great way of extending the life of your air conditioner is by installing a programmable thermostat. This kind of thermostat uses automated settings to regulate indoor temperatures. In this system, you feed the temperatures you need for different times of the day only once. This, of course, enables you to control heating and cooling based on your needs. For instance, you can set the temperature high during the night and lower for the day. A programmable thermostat not only reduces wastage of energy but also saves you the trouble of resetting the system now and then.
Replace When Necessary
Sometimes, the best way to ensure that you are breathing clean air inside your home is to upgrade your AC. If your unit has lasted ten years and above, you should start warming to the idea of a replacement. An old unit will tend to be less efficient and consume more energy than a new one. Aside from age, it is economically sensible to replace a unit that keeps on breaking down. When buying the unit, check its components and functionality. Also, choose the right size and model for your home. It is advisable to seek advice from an HVAC expert on whether to buy a window or central air conditioner.
Troubleshoot Repairs Promptly
Small issues can grow to enormous and costly problems if they are ignored. So, don’t overlook little signs that require repairs. Here are some tell-tale signs that your AC needs immediate repair:
- High indoor humidity
- A failed thermostat
- Unusual and irritating noise from the AC
- Unpleasant odors
- Warm air coming from the AC
- Inadequate airflow
- Frequent cycles
- Water leaks
Protect the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit plays a fundamental role in the system. It removes heat from the inside of the home and dumps it outside. Unfortunately, it tends to accumulate debris due to its location. If you want to ensure the maximum efficiency of the unit, you need to keep it free from debris. Also, clear vegetation that has grown around it and removes any obstructing outdoor furniture.
Check the Condenser Unit
The condenser unit fans have to be in good working condition for the system to work efficiently. Inspect the AC frequently to make sure that the fans are in good shape. If the blades are cracked or chipped, replace them. Also, ensure that the fan motor bearing is well lubricated. Your AC plays a vital role in heating and cooling your home. More importantly, it protects the health of your family by improving the quality of indoor air. However, it can only achieve this when it is properly maintained. The above tips will help you maintain your AC in top shape.