An air conditioner, like any other vital system, needs some attention every once in a while, because it gets constant use. After all, your AC is probably the one thing saving you from the stifling heat taking over your home. When you take care of your air conditioner, you’ll ensure its longevity and keep money in your pockets instead of spending them on costly repairs.
To reach optimal temperatures, your AC may be working overtime in the summer, so it is important to perform these six specific tasks to keep it healthy in warmer weather and all year long.
1. Get Repairs Completed Immediately
Even with regular maintenance, various aspects can adversely affect your air conditioner in the summer. When you have an AC malfunction, the last thing you should do is ignore it. Minor issues can become more significant if left unaddressed. Additionally, you may end up:
- Forcing your AC to operate inefficiently
- Increasing energy bills
- Decreasing your AC’s lifespan
- Causing severe leaks
With a little TLC once a year, you can help your AC operate for up to 20 years without issue and save 30% of your utility costs on average. That money could be used on a summer vacation for the entire family.
2. Change Filters Every Few Months
Dust, dirt, debris, pet dander, and other pollutants constantly circulate through the air and can even make their way into your vents, restricting airflow and reducing energy efficiency by up to 15%. Keeping your AC filters clean and fresh will minimize the number of air contaminants, reduce allergies, improve air quality, and keep your AC from overworking.
Changing your AC filter is a simple process that only requires you to know the correct filter size. Don’t jump the gun and assume you know the standard size because even a half an inch off could be too large or small.
We recommend changing internal filters every 3 months to avoid pollutant buildup. When removing the current filter, check the size printed on the side. If you’re genuinely unsure, ask one of our AC maintenance professionals serving Wilmington, Claymont, Hockessin, Montchanin, Rockland, and Yorkland.
3. Keep Things Clean
Not only do you need to change filters routinely, but cleaning the AC condenser outside once a year will support efficient operation and optimal performance. Parts of the condenser that you can clean yourself include the fins and the bottom of the unit to remove leaves, dirt, and other debris.
Follow these simple steps to clean your AC condenser:
- Step 1: Turn off the power to avoid electrocution.
- Step 2: Check your lines and the insulation around them to make sure it’s still intact.
- Step 3: Unscrew the top (follow the manufacturer’s instructions to verify that you’re removing the top correctly).
- Step 4: Remove debris at the bottom by hand or use a shop vac to avoid damaging parts.
- Step 5: Assess the condenser’s fins for any issues or damage. Use a fin comb to clean off dirt. You can also use a water hose to spray through the fins. Spray the hose inside so that water doesn’t sit inside the condenser.
- Step 6: Secure the top to the condenser tightly and turn the power back on.
4. Program Auto Settings
Many AC repair professionals recommend turning off your air conditioner to let it rest. While not a bad idea, this may cause significant spikes in internal temperatures, resulting in your AC working harder to regulate the temperature again. Program auto settings instead of completely shutting down your system for hours at a time. Smart and intuitive thermostats allow you to schedule times and/or specific temperatures for your cooling system to turn on.
5. Ensure Your AC is the Right Size
Have you noticed that your AC unit continues running but has difficulty reaching your programmed temperature? This could be a sign (along with several others) that your system is undersized for your home. All AC units have a BTU (British Thermal Unit) that measures the energy it takes to remove heat per hour. Our Wilmington HVAC service professionals use this metric to determine how much energy is needed to cool or heat your home, using your home’s square footage.
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when choosing an AC unit is assuming a larger system is better than a small one. If your AC is too large for the size of your home, you’ll experience short-cycling, where the system’s compressor will turn on for a short period. This doesn’t give your system enough time to dehumidify the area, causing increased energy bills and poor AC performance.
6. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
On average, Americans spend approximately $2,000 annually on energy bills. Indirect energy fixes can do wonders for the efficient operation of your air conditioner. For instance, you can ensure the health of your AC by keeping your home properly insulated.
Heat naturally flows from warmer spaces to cooler spaces, so adequate insulation resists airflow from escaping through walls, floors, and ceilings. To determine the insulating effectiveness, thickness, and density, you’ll want to look at the R-values (or thermal resistance).
7. Regular AC Maintenance
Annual AC maintenance is one of the most important aspects of caring for your HVAC system. Maintenance can be performed before the summer and winter. A licensed and certified professional should complete pre-season maintenance before the temperature changes. You don’t want to be caught in a heatwave without having summerized your AC unit to ensure it’ll continue working at the peak of summer.
Let Us Help You Get the Most Out of Your Air Conditioner
The Wilmington, Claymont, Hockessin, Montchanin, Rockland, and Yorkland communities have access to expert HVAC service professionals who want to help homeowners maintain the health of their air conditioners. We follow a checklist to ensure we don’t miss anything and catch any potential issues so that homes stay comfortable all year long.Call (302) 956-6230 or request an appointment online when you need prompt, accurate, and affordable heating and cooling service support.