Air conditioning is something most homeowners rely on to combat the sweltering heat that comes with the summer season. Keeping your air conditioning unit up and running, however, requires a lot of maintenance. No one wants to deal with a broken ac unit when there’s extreme heat, and the cost to repair or replace an air conditioning unit can be expensive. Luckily there’s much you can do to extend the life of your air conditioning unit.
How to Maintain Your Air Conditioning Unit
Like a car, there are plenty of parts to your air conditioner that require routine cleaning and maintenance. Knowing what could tamper with how effective your air conditioner runs as well as looking for signs of a damaged air conditioning unit, both help with the upkeep. It’s important to keep up with maintenance, as a well-maintained ac unit not only means a longer life, it means a better home. With a damaged ac unit: mold and mildew can form inside, toxic refrigerants can leak, and in some more extreme cases, a component inside the ac unit could catch on fire. The good news is that every air conditioning catastrophe can be avoided with some routine upkeep. Here’s what you can do to keep your ac unit running as it should be.
- Keep the condenser clear of plants, debris, and the sun. The condenser of your ac unit is the separate unit that sits outside the house. A condenser does all the actual cooling and works by dispersing all the heat inside your house to the air outside your house. Your condenser can’t run efficiently if there are shrubs, branches, and other debris that disrupts the air flow of the unit. A good rule of thumb is to keep the space around the condenser clear within a 2-4 foot radius. While it’s important to keep the condenser clear of debris, it’s also important to keep it stored in a cool place. Planting a shrub or small tree between your air conditioning unit and the sun will prevent it from overworking itself.
- Change the filters on a monthly basis. One of the easiest things you can do to maintain your ac unit is to change the filters. Depending on the household, an ac unit filter needs to be changed as often as every 30-60 days. Filters collect a lot of dust, dirt, and allergens, and if not replaced, not only can reduce the airflow of your ac unit, but circulates nothing but dirty air throughout your home. Eventually, if enough dust collects on the cooling coils, frost can build up and can make it more difficult to cool your home. The wear and tear caused by a dirty filter does not mean a higher utility bill, but it does mean replacing your ac unit a year or two sooner.
- Keep furniture away and use fans. One important factor of an ac unit is proper flow. The purpose of your ac unit is to disperse the heat from your home and circulate cool air. Furniture that blocks the cooling vents means your ac unit has to work twice as hard to circulate. Ceiling and plug-in fans can also significantly help circulate cool air throughout your home.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Another handy way to prevent your ac unit from overworking itself is to install a programmable thermostat. Energy efficient habits can help prolong the life of your ac unit. By programming your ac unit to turn up a few degrees while nobody’s home and for bedtime when it’s naturally cooler, you’re saving energy and trouble for your ac unit.
- Schedule professional routine maintenance. A licensed technician can spot and prevent potential problems before they become serious. Having a professional perform an annual tune-up and minor repairs to your ac unit is the best way to maintain it, and add years to its lifetime.
Don’t Let Your AC Unit Go To Waste
A broken ac unit means much more than a miserable household, it also adds up to property damage, health hazards, and a costly replacement. If there is something wrong with your ac unit, it’s important to contact a licensed technician as they can properly replace and install your ac unit. Ac units can last up to 15 years or more, depending on well you take care of them. Routine cleaning and maintenance, as well as an annual professional tune-up, can guarantee that your ac unit lives its lifetime.