Your air conditioner works hard to keep you comfortable throughout the cooling season, and maintaining your system is critical for ensuring its efficiency, extending its life and preventing midsummer breakdowns. A neglected air conditioner requires up to 25 percent more energy to operate than a well-maintained system, raising your utility costs and reducing the operating life of your unit. These tips will help keep your air conditioner in top condition all summer long,
Schedule preventive maintenance A yearly tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician is critical for the optimum performance of your system. Over the course of the cooling season, dust builds up inside your system, belts and electrical connections become loose and normal wear on the motor and fan takes its toll on the efficiency of your unit. Preventive maintenance before the cooling season commences will include these key points to considerably improve your system’s efficiency, lower your utility costs and extend the life of your air conditioner:
- Clean and lubricate the motor to eliminate friction.
- Test the system’s controls to ensure it cycles properly.
- Inspect the start and run capacitors and relays for damage.
- Test the refrigerant level, adjust as needed and inspect for leaks.
- Tighten electrical connections and belts.
- Flush the condensate drain to prevent backup.
- Clean and inspect the blower motor and fan.
- Clean and adjust the thermostat for optimum accuracy.
Change your air filter The air filter in your air conditioner helps prevent dust from entering your system, which can cause overheating and related damage. A clean filter ensures optimum airflow and helps maintain the indoor air quality in your home.
- Inspect your air filter every month and replace it when you can no longer see through it.
- Opt for a high-quality, pleated air filter to trap more and smaller particles from your home’s air and to protect your system from dust buildup.
- Check the specs of your system before upgrading your air filter to determine the highest quality filter it will accommodate to ensure optimum airflow and air cleaning qualities.
Keep it clean Dust inside your indoor unit and debris on and around your outdoor condensing unit can cause significant damage to your air conditioner and considerably lower its efficiency and reduce its operating life.
- Maintain the area around your indoor unit. Vacuum regularly to remove dust around the system, and keep the area around the unit accessible in case service is required.
- Remove plants from around the outdoor condensing unit to ensure optimum airflow. Hose down the unit every month to remove dirt and debris that becomes trapped in the fins.
- Vacuum your return registers weekly to remove dust that can enter your system and reduce its efficiency.