You already know your home’s air conditioner is critically important for enabling your family to stay comfortable on even the hottest summer days. You also likely know that repairing or replacing your air conditioner can be a very costly proposition. Most AC systems should last for between 15 and 20 years when properly maintained.
The following AC maintenance tips can help you to address problems and get the longest service life and the best return on your investment from your current air conditioning system.
Change Air Filters Regularly
Air filters help air conditioning systems to process clean air and circulate it throughout your home if you have a central air system. You should install a new air filter every spring and change it every two or three months to help ensure your AC system delivers the best airflow with clean air. It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance of changing air filters regularly to produce the best possible cooling for your home.
Check Refrigerant Pressure
You can’t get cold air if your air conditioner is low on refrigerant. Checking the refrigerant pressure will tell you if you have a suitable level or if something is wrong. Refrigerant leaks commonly occur when AC systems are not properly maintained. Hiring a certified and experienced HVAC technician o check the refrigerant pressure can help to identify any leaks that would allow the refrigerant to leak and cause the AC system to blow warm instead of cold air.
Keep Split Systems Clear of Outdoor Obstructions
If you have a split-system central air conditioner, the condenser and compressor are located outside in a separate unit. That unit needs to be clear of any shrubs, weeds, or tall grass that might obstruct the intake of air. The outside unit should be clear of any obstructions that might interfere with airflow and possibly cause items to collect inside, like leaves, dried grass, or dead weeds. The system also should not be located in direct sunlight as much as possible.
Inspect and Clean the Condenser and Compressor Coils
Few types of maintenance can help your AC system to last longer than inspecting and cleaning the coils. An AC system has one set of condenser coils that removes heat while another set of evaporator coils creates cold air to make your home cool and comfortable. Inspecting and cleaning those coils will help to make your AC work efficiently while giving it the best chance at lasting for 15 years or more.
Check Fan Bels, Fan, and Blower
You can’t get cold air from your air conditioning system if the blower is not moving air through the ducts. Most systems have belts, fans, and blower motors that move the air through ducts or directly into one or more rooms. You need to make sure the fan belt and fan are in good condition and moving freely.
A worn belt might break and leave you with no airflow. A dirty fan that struggles to turn might make annoying sounds and push dusty air through the system – or fail to turn at all. Inspecting the system, replacing a worn belt, and cleaning and lubricating the fan can help to keep the air flowing while maximizing your air conditioning system’s effectiveness.
Insulate and Seal Air Ducts
An AC system that relies on air ducts to circulate cold air requires those ducts to be in good condition. A leaking air duct will let cold air escape and cause the AC system to work even harder. If the ducts are exposed to any kind of heat, that also could affect the system’s ability to cool your home effectively and efficiently. Sealing leaking air ducts and insulating them helps to ensure you have the best possible airflow while keeping the cool air as cold as possible until it reaches its destination inside your home.