A functional HVAC unit is one of the most important components of a home. It works to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round. As we approach summer, the last thing you want is to experience issues with your HVAC system. Here are nine air conditioner maintenance tips for summer.
1. Replace the Filters
You may not think much about replacing the filters, but it’s among the most important air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. Air filters work to rid the air of impurities such as pet dander, dust, pollen, and bacteria, improving the air quality. Over time, it filters so much debris and dust that it can cause it to clog.
Dirty air filters pose a health risk for your family as they encourage pet dander, dust, bacteria, and other air impurities to keep circulating through the home. Such an environment can be detrimental, particularly for those with pre-existing allergies. Replacing the filters will improve your system’s capability to trap these contaminants.
Getting new filters also helps extend the HVAC system’s lifespan. With the help of the intake ducts, the system draws air into the filter. Clogged filters cause a system to work twice as hard to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, increasing the likelihood of overheating.
In extreme cases, they can cause a system to smoke. Replacing the air filters is a cost-effective way of preserving the system’s functionality for longer. It also reduces repair needs. The good thing is you don’t need HVAC professionals to perform this maintenance task.
When your HVAC system operates at peak efficiency, you consume less energy. Lower energy costs mean cheaper HVAC operating expenses. A new HVAC air filter is cheaper than an excessively high utility bill.
2. Clear Debris
The outdoor components of your system serve several important functions. For starters, that’s where you’ll find the compressor, the system’s engine. It pumps refrigerant by raising the pressure. It’s also where refrigerant releases the heat it absorbs from the indoor air, making it possible for your home to cool.
Due to their location, such parts are particularly susceptible to dirt and debris. A dirty outdoor coil can make it hard for the system to dissipate heat. If a piece of debris gets in the way of a motor, the system may fail to run and necessitate HVAC repairs.
While HVAC services will clear your system of debris during maintenance visits, consider eliminating the source of the debris for a more effective solution. The indoor components of your system are also susceptible to debris and dirt. So inspect and clear them of any obstruction before the cooling season begins.
Consider covering the outdoor unit with a hail guard or tarp to prevent the accumulation of debris in the system. If you use a tarp, turn off the unit when covering it to prevent overheating. You should also invest in a leaf guard as part of air conditioner maintenance tips for summer.
3. Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser, a large metal outdoor unit, houses the condenser coils. The function of these components in an AC installation is to absorb hot air in the home and dissipate it outside. The cleaner the surface of the coils, the more efficiently the system runs. Dust and oil buildup on the coils over time can result in a ‘blanket’ that prevents heat transfer, reduces AC efficiency, and increases operation costs.
To clean your condenser coils start by switching off the AC and power to the condensing unit. Next, remove the bolts that attach the lid to the condenser while avoiding the bolts of the fan. If your system’s fan is at the top section of the unit, don’t stretch or damage any wiring. If you don’t have the experience, contact a professional.
Remove any broken aluminum fins, dead insects, dirt, or leaves that have found their way into the unit using a hand brush or small broom. Doing this helps to restore airflow and increase cooling. Next, use a hose to wash your air conditioner from the inside out, being careful not to wet the electrical parts within the access panel.
Cover the coils with your preferred cleaner and let sit for 15 minutes. Doing this will allow it to penetrate heavier grime, dust, and dirt buildup. Now clear away any residue and dry with a clean cloth.
Use a fin comb to carefully straighten any bent coil fins. Finish by reassembling the unit and reconnecting power to the condensing unit. Proactively clearing debris is among the best air conditioner maintenance tips for summer.
4. Test the Unit
Testing your unit is one of the most valuable air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. Start by assessing your HVAC system’s control system. Contrast the thermostat’s temperature display with a thermometer that isn’t part of the system.
Your thermostat may have trouble sensing your home’s indoor temperature if they vary. Even a perfectly functioning HVAC system can’t do its job if the thermostat can’t tell when to start and stop. Next, run a cooling test.
To avoid overworking or damaging the system’s compressor, performing an AC test a few days (48 hours) after the outdoor temperature has remained above 65º Fahrenheit and nothing lower than 60º Fahrenheit is recommended by AC companies. Configure your thermostat to control heating and cooling automatically, and set a comfortable room temperature between 76º F and 78º F. When testing, set the thermostat to begin cooling immediately. The condenser should begin operating right away.
While it’s running, inspect the primary HVAC unit. Pay close attention to any HVAC noises you hear, as they might point to various issues with the unit. Rattles and clanks are a sign of disconnected or loose parts. Squeals after the first few seconds of startup indicate motors needing lubrication, compressor or belt problems, and slapping noises often mean something got stuck in the blower.
The system should cool your home after operating for around ten minutes. Walk along the path of the air vents while listening out for odd noises. An obstruction in the ductwork will interfere with the flow of cooled air into the rooms of your house.
Hissing, flapping, and rustling are more common here. Ducts don’t have machinery that can fail. Most duct issues are obstructions or poor sealing that causes cooled air to escape, a significant energy waster in the summer.
5. Check the Coolant Lines
Inspecting the coolant lines is also among the best air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. They’re key components in HVAC systems. They transport the refrigerant, the working fluid that absorbs and releases heat to deliver cooling or heating. The coolant lines feature two pipes, one for the high-pressure refrigerant and the other for the low-pressure refrigerant.
Inspect the lines for any visible damage or leaks. You can employ a refrigerant leak detector for this task. Also, check the pressure of the refrigerant in the system to ensure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommended range.
Properly functioning coolant lines are essential to maintaining the efficiency and longevity of an HVAC system. Contact a professional ac repair service immediately if you notice any repair needs. They’ll address them efficiently and promptly.
6. Schedule Routine Inspections
Scheduling a routine inspection is one of the most valuable air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. You save money when your HVAC system is operating efficiently. Regular inspections will inform you of the tune-ups your system needs to ensure peak efficiency.
Over time, your ventilation system accumulates dirt and debris, negatively impacting the air quality your HVAC system supplies. Poor indoor air quality puts you and your family at a higher risk of developing breathing issues. It especially affects those with allergies, asthma, or other underlying respiratory conditions. Scheduling regular inspections will reveal potential issues in their early stages, protecting you from the effects of carbon monoxide or mold.
The financial commitment of replacing an air conditioning installation varies with the type of equipment included. However, replacing any HVAC equipment is generally costly. When maintained properly, heating and cooling equipment lasts longer and needs fewer repairs. For this reason, HVAC professionals recommend scheduling routine inspections with a reputable HVAC company.
Technicians have years of experience identifying developing problems and addressing them before they cause a system failure. If you have an older system, note that it’s less efficient than newer models. That means an HVAC contractor may suggest an upgrade to ensure your meet modern efficiency standards.
7. Schedule Routine Maintenance
An optimized HVAC system wastes little energy when heating or cooling your home. To optimize your system, you need an expert HVAC professional to inspect all the parts and ensure everything operates correctly and efficiently. Making a small one- or two-time annual investment in periodic maintenance can lower the cost of operating your system, saving you money on your monthly bills.
HVAC contractors recommend a system replacement every 10-15 years. However, they make the estimation assuming that you observe routine maintenance. Failing to maintain your system every spring and fall will significantly shorten its life span. Don’t take a chance; schedule preventative maintenance with professional heating and cooling services to protect your investment and ensure you maximize its useful life.
A well-maintained system can also increase your home’s value if you intend to sell. When repair needs are present, a buyer can use them as leverage for negotiating a lower price or walk away. Most home sales start with a physical inspection to assess the property’s condition and determine its worth. With regular maintenance from a reputable contractor, your HVAC system will be in optimal working condition when you decide to sell in the summer.
8. Get Repairs Done
Your HVAC system won’t run optimally forever. Eventually, wear and tear will catch up to it, causing it stops doing its job efficiently. Timely air conditioner repairs by a local contractor or technician are one of the best air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. It will ensure your system continues to provide the best possible performance.
Addressing repair needs promptly saves you money by preventing expensive premature replacements. According to HOLTKAMP, some AC units go for over $5,000. The cost of repairs is much lower than getting a replacement and can save you thousands of dollars.
Regularly inspecting your AC and fixing any damage lowers the likely hood of unexpected breakdowns. A minor HVAC system problem can quickly turn into a major problem. With timely repairs, you can mitigate issues before they spread to other components of the system.
9. Get a Brand New Unit
Knowing when to get a brand-new system is one of the best air conditioner maintenance tips for summer. There are several reasons why you would need to consider a replacement. For example, if you have a system that’s older than ten years, it’s time to start looking for a more modern and energy-efficient system. Older systems tend to have more maintenance and repair needs.
Loud noises are often an indication of bigger system problems. Avoid attempting to fix or replace any parts on your own. Call an expert service technician to take a closer look at your unit. They’ll let you know whether repairs will be sufficient or if it’s time for an upgrade.
If you frequently need to buy new parts for your heating and cooling system, it may be time for a replacement. The cost of frequent repairs can quickly add up. Older units that often need repairs are also less efficient. Instead of forking out money on never-ending repairs, get a new system.
An older HVAC system uses more energy to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, resulting in high heating and cooling bills. If your energy bills have gradually increased, contact a professional to schedule an inspection. Doing this will help you determine whether repairs will suffice or if a replacement is necessary.
When you get a new HVAC system, it may be tempting to skip ac maintenance. However, this will only lower its expected lifespan. Set up a consistent maintenance schedule with your contractor as soon as possible.
Your Home’s HVAC system is one of its most valuable assets in terms of finances and functionality. Therefore, you need to do everything you can to protect it and get the most service out of its useful life. Use these nine air conditioner maintenance tips for summer.