If you’re like most homeowners, you seek out ways to save money when it comes to the upkeep of your property. While choosing to NOT schedule routine maintenance for your air conditioner may save in the short term, it could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Why? Annual AC maintenance may help prevent expensive and untimely breakdowns. Regular tune-ups can also help your system run more efficiently, even during the peak of the cooling season.
In addition to scheduling yearly maintenance appointments for your air conditioner, here are a few other things you should know about maintaining this vital home appliance.
Don’t forget to change your filter.
One of the most critical things to remember when it comes to maintaining your AC is to replace the filter. Many homeowners mistakenly think that they don’t need to worry about changing the air filter in summer because their blower is attached to the furnace, but this isn’t correct. All air passing through your heating and cooling system uses the same blower and passes through the same filter.
So, even during the cooling season, regularly replace the filter so your home’s indoor air quality isn’t compromised, and so your AC doesn’t have to work harder than needed to push cool air throughout your home.
Replace the filter as often as is indicated in the furnace’s owner’s manual. Don’t know where your owner’s manual is? No worries. The general rule is to replace your air filter at least once a month during peak cooling season, and maybe more often if you have individuals who smoke in your home, or pets. As for the size you need, check the sizing specs on the existing filter before heading out to the store.
Give your AC room to breathe.
Check around your air conditioner’s outdoor condenser to be sure that there is a minimum two feet of clearance on all sides. When tree limbs, bushes, fencing, etc. are too close to the unit, they can restrict proper airflow and cause your AC to work harder than it needs to. That may lead to premature wear and tear on your system’s vital components, ultimately causing a costly breakdown.
Keep the condensate drain line clean.
The condensate drain line is often made from PVC materials and connects the indoor components of your AC to the outside of your home. Its function is to release the condensation that forms as a result of the humidity released when your system is cooling hot outdoor air. When the line gets clogged, it can ultimately cause your unit to “freeze” up, allowing ice to form on critical AC components, such as the evaporator coils.
To clean the line, unhook it and pour a cup of vinegar or bleach, and a cup of water, into the pipe. This will help to clear obstructions formed by mold or built-up sediment. If you aren’t comfortable taking care of this maintenance task on your own, call a heating and cooling professional for assistance.
Make sure there aren’t holes in your ducts.
All conditioned air from your home’s furnace and air conditioner passes through ductwork. If there are gaps or “holes” in the ducts, air from these systems can escape. Additionally, warm or cold surrounding air near your ducts can get drawn in and cause the conditioned air to get warmer/colder. In turn, this will cause your HVAC system to work harder than necessary as it keeps your home comfortable.
If you’ve noticed that there are certain rooms or levels in your home that don’t feel as comfortable as they once did, your ducts may need to be sealed. Contact a heating and cooling professional if this is the case in your home.
Need more help maintaining your AC?
At Pivotal Home Solutions, we offer an affordable Cooling Maintenance Plan, which includes an annual tune-up for your cooling system. We also offer a Cooling Repair Plan, which will prove to be handy should your air conditioner experience a breakdown. When you’re enrolled in the plan and a covered repair is needed, simply give us a call and we take care of the rest!