Now that spring has sprung, we get to enjoy all of the benefits of the warmer weather. The blooming flowers. The sun setting later in the evening. The smell of sunscreen at the swimming pool. But it also means that our dependency on air conditioning is now beginning. Life without air conditioning is no life at all.
The last thing that you want to do is to wait until that thermometer hits the triple digits to realize that your air conditioning has gone kaput. To keep that cool air blasting all summer long, we’ve created a list of five air conditioning services that every homeowner should perform before the days get too hot and miserable.
Five AC Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Air Conditioners in Great Shape
- Change your air filters regularly. Your air conditioner filter works as the gatekeeper that prevents dust, debris, and gunk from getting into your critical AC components, and also, from being dispersed throughout your house. If you neglect to change your filter regularly, it will get so caked with nasty stuff that air will have difficulty flowing throughout your system. This not only hurts its efficiency, it also makes your air conditioning have to work double time to keep the temperature nice and cool in you home. Eventually, it will burn the AC’s motor out, not to mention, it will come back to bite you on your energy bill.
Check the manufacturer recommendations in your AC owner’s manual (or Google it if you aren’t sure where in the world that manual is) to know the appropriate air filter replacement schedule for your particular unit. Changing it out every one to three months is standard though.
- Make sure you have your ducts in a row. Making sure that the messengers that spread the good news of cool air throughout your house are clear of obstructions and leaks is an important way to maintain an efficient system. You can do a visual inspection of your ductwork before the season changes, and bringing in a professional to give it a thorough cleaning and check for leaks at least once a year is a good idea. If you’ve ever submerged a bicycle tire in water to see if there are any leaks, you have a basic idea of how an air conditioning contractor will check your air conditioners ductwork for leaks (they blast high pressure air through the ductwork so that any leaks are apparent, they won’t submerge your ductwork in water. Just to clarify.).
- Make sure your condensing unit is free of blockage. The outdoor condensing unit that draws air from outside and converts it to the cold gold that comes through your vents has to be able to breathe in order to do its job. If there is any debris, shrubs, or weeds that are blocking the airflow of the condenser, the whole system will burn out eventually. Before you turn the AC on for the hot season, do an inspection, to make sure that nothing is preventing air from flowing freely through the condensing unit.
- Have your freon levels inspected. In ideal circumstances, the freon in your air conditioning on the day it is born will be the same freon that your air conditioning uses throughout its life. However, if there’s a problem with your air conditioner, it can corrode the freon in the system or cause it to leak out. If this goes unnoticed, you might not realize there’s a problem until you have to replace the whole unit, an expense that is equal your child’s college fund.
- Get routine inspections. The previous points are the most common issues that cause AC problems. However, bringing in an AC professional once a year to do a thorough look-over and make sure everything is in tip top shape is a good idea. The AC pro who gives your system a checkup may catch issues that are easy to fix now, but a nightmare down the road. As an add bonus, if your tech finds something that’s hurting the efficiency of the unit, repairing it will pay for itself in your energy bill savings.
Do you have any other great AC maintenance tips? Please share them in the comment section below.