Do you know the number one cause of costly air conditioner breakdowns? You guessed it – poor maintenance. In fact, the IAQA, regular maintenance is said to decrease the risk of costly repairs by up to 95%. The good news is that with a little care, your air conditioning can run more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Air conditioning systems are not perfect, and just like any other home appliance, these machines can fail if not given the proper care. You should regularly be inspecting and maintaining your air conditioning system to keep it working at optimum efficiency. There are many things you can do yourself, or you can call on a professional air conditioning repair and maintenance company for routine tune-ups and preventative care.
Before starting to perform any maintenance tasks, you need to decide whether it's something you can or cannot handle or if you even want to handle it yourself. If you are not sure what needs to be done, hire a professional to evaluate your system and do the maintenance tasks for you. Keep in mind that improperly handling the system can cause serious problems. Some jobs are simply better when left to a professional.
Here are a few pointers to help you take full advantage of your air conditioner and get the most out of your investment with longer-lasting, more comfortable results.
Air Filters Are Key.
Clean and replace the air filter regularly. This is a simple and inexpensive task but probably the most effective and powerful maintenance activity that exists. It is surprisingly also the one that is most often overlooked. Changing the filter regularly prevents dusty air from entering the air intake and causing the equipment to work harder. It's also helps save money on your energy bill. For example, did you know that keeping your air filter clean can reduce your AC's energy consumption by as much as 15%?
Many people find it convenient to set birthdays or other significant regular events to remind them when to change the filters.
Inspect the thermostat and the condensing unit regularly.
When you look at the thermostat, check the seams and gaps to ensure there isn't a layer of dust inhibiting it. Using canned compressed air, as you would find in a computer repair facility, is a good way to clean the small electronic thermostat parts.
Check the condensing unit too to see if there is any visible dust on the unit. Excess dust will cause it will operate inefficiently.
This is a situation where you might prefer to have a professional come to your home. Cleaning it can be a messy job.
System Wiring Check.
A lot of people do not think about the wiring elements with an air conditioning system. The wiring is what hooks the unit up to the system, making it possible for the A/C to work as intended. The wiring is like the nerves and veins in a human body. Without it, the system would not function properly. The wiring can often be the reason for an air conditioning system to not function as it should, and in some cases, it can be a safety hazard.
There are a few signs to look for that may tell you that it is time to inspect the wiring. One is if the air conditioner has tripped a breaker or has stopped working completely. Another indicator may be if there are any visible signs of damage or burn marks around the wires. A licensed technician will be able to help you determine if there is any damage or deterioration in the wires that need to be replaced.
Inspecting how well the wiring in your air conditioning system is maintained and if it is broken or missing can be a crucial factor in determining the efficiency of your system and how safe your home is.
90 days visual inspection investigation
Every 90 days, do an overall check of the operation of any AC components, including the filter, the thermostat, the condensing unit, wiring, and the circuit breakers.
The most common reason HVAC systems are not working efficiently is that free airflow is inhibited. A visual inspection may allow you to easily diagnose this by checking any visible parts. Checking ductwork, however, is probably a job best left to the professionals.
Here is a list of things you should check:
The filter is the first thing you should check. It only takes a minute.
Inspect system wiring and connections.
Check for any corrosion and replace any worn-out parts.
Check for any dirty and smelly areas.
If you have a drain pan, make sure the drain hole is clear and free.
Use a vacuum cleaner and a brush to safely remove dust, food debris, spider webs, etc.
For older air conditioning systems, there is often a need for more frequent inspection and maintenance. There are many parts of the system that are not easy to see, such as ductwork and condenser coils that shouldn’t be forgotten.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard the complaint "my air conditioning isn't working" or " it's not cold enough." Most always, it is a combination of extreme heat and maintenance issues. You can't control the heat, but you can maintain your air conditioner to keep it running at its best performance possible.
Regular maintenance is important to avoid costly repairs in the future. You might want to bring in a professional to do this inspection for you.
Keep these tips in mind before summer to make sure you're ready for the heat!