Nothing makes the summer more unbearable than a broken air conditioner, but it happens more often than you think. Whether you have central or one room AC, you can keep your conditioner running simply by practicing good air conditioner maintenance.
Keep reading for tips on how you can keep your AC smoothly running, so your home will stay cool and comfortable all summer long.
Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips
You should know that there are some tasks around the house that shouldn’t be done by an average homeowner. There are certain parts of air conditioning maintenance, that require a professional with a license and proper training.
If you feel at all uncomfortable with performing any of these tips below, don’t hesitate. Call a professional before you put yourself in harm.
Always proceed cautiously when working on your outdoor AC unit. Before tinkering with your unit, make sure you shut down your power in your electric box.
1. Understand How Your System Works
It’s also important that you understand how your AC unit works. Most central air conditioners are made up of two basic parts: the compressor/ condenser or outdoor unit which sits next to your home, and the evaporator or indoor unit that is on a central duct by the furnace.
If your home has a heat pump instead of a furnace, then your indoor unit will be in the air handler.
2. Clean And/Or Replace The Air Filter
You’ll want to regularly clean or replace your air filter. If you have a reusable filter, a simple cleaning will do. If your filter is disposable, then you will want to replace it when it gets too dirty.
Keeping your air filter clean, is one of the most key steps in air conditioner maintenance, and does not require a professional. In fact, if you were to call a professional to fix your busted AC, the first thing they would ask you to do is to clean or replace your air filter.
You’ll want to replace or clean your filer each month during high use seasons (such as the summer and winter). During the fall and spring, you’ll only need to clean your filters once.
It’s important that you keep your filter fresh. If you filter gets full of dirt, allergens, or dust, then your air flow will decrease making your system working harder than it should. Also, a dirty filter means that your entire system could be dustier, dirtier, and more prone to trigger asthma and allergies.
Where’s My Air Filter?
Depending on your AC, your air filter will either be located behind the return air grille on a ceiling or wall in a central room in your house. The filter could also be in the blower compartment of the furnace or air handler. Or the filer could be in a slot on the bottom, top or side of your furnace.
3. Examine The Thermostat
You will also want to check your thermostat to make sure it’s properly working to keep your home at the correct temperature. If your thermostat is older and the mechanical type, you may want to upgrade to a programmable model.
Programmable thermostats let you set the temperature higher when no one is home but cannot turn the AC off, just up. These thermostats can also cool the house down about 30 minutes before you arrive home for the evening.
Programmable thermostats are a great switch because they make sure you always have a comfortable home waiting for you. These thermostats can also save you money and energy, as you’re not running your AC all day when no one is home.
4. Check The Condenser Unit Fan
First, turn off the power of your AC unit, then check the fan that is mounted at the top of your outside condenser. Make sure this fan is in good condition. If it isn’t you will have to replace any fan blades with cracks or chips that are visible on one or more blades.
If your AC unit is older, the fan bearings might need to be regularly oiled.
5. Clean the Outside Unit
Usually, over time, dirt, grass clippings, and leaves can build up on the outside of your unit. This can decrease the system capacity which can reduce the air flow.
Once you shut off the power to your unit, then you can use a garden hose to gently wash out any debris. Start at the top with the host at a forty-five-degree angle. Don’t use the power washer, and make sure to not damage or bend any delicate fins on the coil.
You will also want to trim any plants or shrubs around the AC which might be blocking the air flow.
6. Control Heat Through Windows
Your AC might not be able to work to its full potential because of the heat that is coming through your windows. On a hot sunny day, open windows and or letting too much sun into your home could be heating up your space. This makes it harder for your AC to properly cool your home.
To control the heat in your home, make sure you’re also keeping an eye on your windows. You want to make sure all of your windows are not only closed but also covered with blinds and drapes especially during the hottest time of day and windows that face to the sun.
7. Call for Professional AC Maintenance
In addition to all of these steps, you should also have a professional come check out your AC unit once a year. This can end up saving you energy, money, and keep your AC running on the hottest days of the summer.
A professional can also do additional maintenance tasks that will make sure your AC performs as efficiently as possible for years to come.
Maintain Your AC
Now that you know how to properly do air conditioner maintenance, get on it! The best way to keep your AC running properly in the hottest days of summer is to routinely check on it. For more tips and resources on air conditioners, check out our blog.