Air conditioning units play a crucial role in maintaining comfort in homes and offices, particularly during the hot summer months. Like any other piece of machinery, air conditioning units require regular maintenance to function optimally. Neglecting this critical aspect can lead to decreased efficiency, higher energy bills, and even system failure. Keep reading to learn how to maintain your air conditioning system to keep it running.
Changing the Air Filter
One of the simplest yet most effective air conditioning maintenance tasks is regularly changing the air filter. Over time, dust, allergens, and other debris accumulate on the filter, causing the unit to work harder to circulate air. This not only reduces your AC's efficiency but also affects indoor air quality. Most experts recommend changing the air filter every one to three months, depending on usage and the type of filter used.
Cleaning the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils, located in the outdoor unit, also need regular cleaning. These coils can get dirty due to external elements like dust and foliage, affecting their ability to dissipate heat. As a result, the system has to run longer to cool your space, which can lead to increased wear and tear. Clean the condenser coils annually, typically in the spring before the peak cooling season.
Inspecting the Fins
The fins on the evaporator and condenser coils can easily get bent, blocking the airflow through the coil. Regular inspection and, if necessary, straightening of these fins can significantly improve your system's efficiency. A "fin comb" is a tool designed specifically for this purpose.
Checking the Thermostat
The thermostat controls when and how long your AC runs, so it is important to ensure it is working correctly. If you have an older, mechanical thermostat, you might consider upgrading to a programmable one. This can allow for more precise temperature control and even lead to energy savings, as you can set the system to use less energy when you are not home.
Scheduling Professional Maintenance
While there is a lot you can do on your own, some aspects of air conditioning maintenance are best left to professionals. This includes tasks like checking the refrigerant level, testing for leaks, inspecting and sealing duct leakage, measuring airflow, and checking the electric control sequence. Most experts recommend scheduling professional AC maintenance at least once a year.
By caring for your air conditioning system now, you will enjoy the benefits of a cool, comfortable space for years to come. For more information on air conditioning maintenance, contact a professional near you.