Extend the Life of Your AC Unit Through DIY Air Conditioning Service
With temperatures in the high-80s lately, you may have already started using your air conditioner to cool your home. While your air conditioning unit is designed to help keep you cool and comfortable in your home, it can only do so if properly maintained throughout the year. Your HVAC expert can provide you with AC maintenance and repair services as needed, but there are also a few things you can do yourself.
Here are five air conditioning service tips to help you extend the life of your air conditioning unit, reduce your need for repairs over the year, and improve the efficiency of your cooling system.
1. Inspect your air filters at least every three months.
In order to keep your air conditioning unit working at its full capacity and to reduce your energy consumption, you’ll need to clean or replace your clogged or dirty air filters on a regular basis. Many people can get away with changing their filters every two or three months. However, if you are running your AC unit around the clock, you have pets that shed frequently, or you live in a more remote location (more dust/dirt), you may need to clean or replace your air filters more frequently.
2. Check your Freon/refrigerant levels often.
Your AC unit needs refrigerant in order to cool your home effectively and to avoid damaging your unit as a whole. If your AC isn’t cooling your home as quickly, your electricity bills have gone up, or you have ice building up on the line, you may be low on refrigerant. By checking the refrigerant levels often (through a gauge on the unit), you can catch a problem before it has the chance to get bad. If after refilling the refrigerant, the problem comes back, your HVAC technician will be able to check for and repair the cause of the problem—which may be a leak in the line.
3. Regulate your thermostat settings—especially during the warm season.
It’s suddenly hot outside, so you crank your thermostat to a low temperature to cool off your home as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, doing so won’t actually make your AC unit work any faster. Instead, it can use more energy than necessary, shorten the lifespan of your unit, and cause your energy bills to skyrocket. By setting the thermostat at a comfortable—yet cool—temperature, you can reduce the chance of any future problems. We also recommend setting it at a higher temperature when you’ll be out of the house for an extended period of time or turning off your unit altogether. You can even find programmable thermostats that let you automatically adjust the temperature based on when you’ll be at home versus away.
4. Change your AC’s blower filter at least two times per year.
Your blower filter helps ensure that the air being blown into your home is safe and clean. When it gets dirty, the blower filter can restrict the airflow into your home. To make sure your AC is always working properly, the two ideal times to replace your blower filter include right before cooling season and again before heating season. When you’re buying a new one, make sure that you choose one with the same airflow rating.
5. Clean your AC coils (evaporator and condenser) regularly.
Your AC coils work to transport the refrigerant through the unit, allowing cold air to go where it should go and heat to escape safely and correctly. These coils can get dirty, blocking airflow to and from the unit. Using a vacuum and/or a spray hose (avoid pressure washers, which can damage the unit), you can effectively clean off any dust or debris from the unit.
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