How to Prevent Costly Air Conditioning Repairs

Many homeowners tend to install a new, high-efficiency air conditioning system and then forget about it. Leaving it alone is one of the worst things you can do. Your central air conditioner needs regular, tender loving care to maintain efficiency as well as to avoid unnecessary repairs. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do, some on your own, some with the aid of a professional, to keep your unit running like new and to avoid unnecessary repairs.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

Depending on the type of air conditioning system you have, either clean or replace the filter regularly. Monthly is ideal but if you don't get to it every four weeks, every other month is acceptable. The purpose of air filters is to trap dust, dirt, and particulates that travel through the system and air ducts. When the filter is dirty, these particles end up throughout the air conditioning system, making it work harder to reach your set temperature and more prone to failure.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

No matter how often you change or clean your filter, your system will still become dirty. Having a certified technician inspect and clean your system once a year is one of the best things you can do to prevent system failure. During a preventive maintenance inspection, the technician will clean all components, check and tighten connections if necessary, refill refrigerant if needed, monitoring starting system and capabilities and check thermostat operation. Items that should be checked include:
  • Check and clean condenser coil
  • Check blower belt wear and tension
  • Check compressor contactor
  • Check and clean condensate pan and drain
  • Check expansion valve and coil temperatures
  • Inspect the total health of the system, including air ducts and advise owner about condition

Clean and Inspect Air Ducts

Jut as your air conditioning unit will become dirty through normal use, so will your air ducts. Have these cleaned and inspected for leaks every few years. Dirty and leaky ducts will make your system work harder and shorten its life.

Clean Debris on Your Own

While a thorough technician will check for and remove dirt and debris around the indoor and outdoor portions of your unit, this is a task that homeowners should also do periodically, particularly with the outdoor unit to keep airflow unrestricted. Trim bushes back from the exterior unit and make sure plants such as vines and weeds don't find their way inside. Check for leaves and debris in the fall and after heavy wind storms.

Be Realistic About Temperature Settings

No matter how energy efficient your central air conditioning unit is, be realistic about how low you set your thermostat on extremely hot days. Attempting to have the indoor temperature 30 degrees cooler in an extremely hot and humid day will make the unit run constantly. Also, think about investing in additional insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors to ease the system's workload.

Categories: General Information

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