Your air conditioner can only keep your indoor living spaces cool if it is cared for properly. Since most of the components that make up your home's cooling system are out of sight, it's easy to overlook some basic maintenance tasks that could improve the overall efficiency of your AC system.
Invest time and energy into a few simple monthly maintenance tasks so that you can preserve the efficiency of your AC unit and extend the life of your cooling system well into the future.
1. Clean the Condenser
The condenser is one of the most important components in your home's cooling system. Most condensers are located outside. This means that they are exposed to the elements at all times.
The air that is cooled and distributed through your home passes through the condenser. A dirty condenser can pose serious problems when it comes to AC efficiency and indoor air quality.
Monthly cleanings can help you avoid any performance issues caused by dirt and debris in the condenser. Prune back any trees or shrubs near the compressor. This will prevent leaves and twigs from blocking the flow of air into the unit. Wipe down the blades of the condenser with a soft cloth to eliminate debris.
Doing something as simple as cleaning your condenser each month could help you save a significant amount of money on AC repair costs over time.
2. Check Refrigerant Lines
Modern residential cooling systems use a refrigerant to help cool air. This refrigerant passes from the outdoor condenser to the indoor cooling system through specialized lines.
The lines are insulated to help protect against condensation that might cause water damage within the condenser. Exposed refrigerant lines should be inspected for signs of damage on a monthly basis.
Look for cracks or cuts in the outer insulation as you inspect your refrigerant lines. This type of damage can lead to refrigerant leaks down the road.
Exposure to refrigerant leaks can be hazardous to your health. If you suspect your AC system's refrigerant lines are damaged or leaking, contact an HVAC technician for immediate repairs.
3. Check the Air Filter
The air that is pulled into the outdoor condenser unit passes through a filter designed to remove any allergens, contaminants, or debris that might be suspended in the air. This filtration process helps to improve indoor air quality and prevent dirt or debris from causing any damage to your AC system.
You should check the condition of your air filter each month. A dirty air filter will cause your AC system to work harder to pull in air that can be cooled and circulated through your home. The result is an increase in your energy costs and the potential for premature component failure caused by unnecessary stress.
The air filter should be changed when you can no longer see light shining through the filter. Many factors affect the change schedule for AC air filters. Pets, nearby plants, and the existence of respiratory conditions within the home are a few factors that will dictate how often you need to swap out your air filter for a new one.
4. Replace Thermostat Batteries
The thermostat connected to your AC system relies on battery power to operate. Changing the batteries monthly will help ensure that you never experience an AC failure caused by a dead thermostat.
Fresh batteries allow your thermostat to remain in constant communication with your air conditioner so that you can maintain a cool and comfortable temperature within your home.
It's easy to forget about changing the thermostat batteries, so making this task part of your monthly AC maintenance routine will prevent unexpected thermostat failure.