As warmer weather approaches, more and more homes start their central air conditioners for relief from the heat. Since we rely on air conditioners so much during hot weather, it’s a great idea to make a couple simple checks to monitor the condition of this system. In addition, having an HVAC professional perform routine maintenance and inspections can mean the difference between relaxing comfortably or sweating through another outfit.
What Are Some Things I Could Do?
Even if you aren’t mechanically inclined, there are a couple simple checks you could do to help ensure the efficiency and lifespan of your air conditioner. One of the most important things is checking and changing your air filters. The filter is usually located somewhere in the length of the return duct–the piping with air returning to the furnace or air conditioner as opposed to being blown out. Clean or replace the filters according to the label. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty, clogged filter can lower energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.
Keep an eye on the air conditioning coils and coil fins. If you have an outdoor unit, take a look inside to make sure the coils aren’t collecting dirt or debris. If you have plants nearby, trim them back at least two feet from the air conditioning unit. Clean the coils when necessary. Take a look at the little aluminum fins near the coils. When they are blocked or bent, it restricts airflow making your air conditioner work harder. A fin comb will help straighten the coil fins.
Schedule an appointment for an air conditioner inspection and tune-up. Although these simple checks will help your air conditioner, some tasks are better left to the professionals. Their training and specialized equipment allows for detecting and fixing minor problems before they ruin your unit.
Why Should I Have My Air Conditioner Inspected?
Some may wonder if it is worth the extra cost of a technician coming out if nothing seems wrong. The truth is, a regular tune-up could save thousands in avoidable repairs and wasted energy.
The qualified technician takes a look at the entire system and performs routine preventative maintenance when necessary. This adds to the lifespan of your air conditioner. Those at Anderson Plumbing Heating and Air say an annual tune-up can increase the life of your air conditioner 3 to 5 years.
Along with a longer lasting air conditioner, there is less chance of breakdown when you need the AC most. This is because maintenance and addressing minor issues help prevent major problems down the line. For example, when a technician detects a low level of refrigerant, it usually means a small leak needs to be repaired.The technician can perform this easy and inexpensive repair before the refrigerant levels get too low and burn out your compressor–a very expensive problem.
A well-maintained central air system will save you money on energy bills. During an inspection, the technician checks for any airflow issues, problems with the thermostat, and the condition of the belts and motor. When all these things are running properly, your air conditioner won’t work overtime to cool the house. This means opening the monthly energy bill won’t be as scary.
With proper maintenance and inspections, an air conditioner can keep your home comfortable all summer long. Between the checks you make on the unit and a technician’s tune-up, you will have the peace of mind knowing your air conditioning is working its best.