Maintaining a well-functioning air conditioning unit is a priority for most homeowners. Proper maintenance is essential for preventing issues that would call for costly repairs or even replacement.
Air conditioning service and HVAC service, in general, are so important that the job market in this industry is expected to grow quicker than average. And while professional air conditioning service can be helpful, it can also be expensive.
Are you interested in saving money through air conditioning preventive maintenance? Read on for our top five tips for money-saving AC preventive maintenance.
1. Maintain Air Filters for Simple Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance
One of the simplest and most important AC maintenance practices is to clean and replace the air filters. This can help improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system and prevent larger issues from developing.
A clogged air filter can cause damage to your machine, so cleaning your filter and replacing it as needed is necessary. A clean air filter also means cleaner, fresher air is circulating throughout your home. If you don’t maintain your air filter, your system may circulate dust, dust mites, pollen, and other small particles.
2. Clean the Coils
You may not think that coils need routine maintenance the way that filters do, but coils should be kept clean to maintain the efficiency of the system, too.
As your air conditioner evaporator and condenser coils collect dirt over time, this reduces airflow and insulates the coil. An insulated coil can’t absorb heat, so it won’t function as efficiently. Outdoor coils can become especially dirty, so be sure to maintain those as well.
Remember to shut off electrical power to the unit anytime you’re cleaning parts.
3. Check and Maintain Your Outdoor Unit
Your outdoor condenser unit is at the mercy of its surroundings, so it’s important to routinely check and maintain the entire area. This should be done monthly, with extra attention around seasonal changes.
During growing season, be sure to clear debris from plants away from the unit, including cleaning away dirt, grass clippings, and leaves. Vegetation should be kept at least two feet away. Encroaching shrubs and tree branches can affect the efficiency of the condenser and reduce airflow.
4. Care for the Fins
The condenser fins on your outdoor unit can become especially dirty. These get dirty as a central fan sucks air through them, bringing in debris that can block airflow.
Once the electrical power is shut off, you can begin by vacuuming the fins with a soft brush. The fins can be fragile, so work carefully to not bend or crush them. You can follow up by hosing off the fin or using a special cleaner to wipe them down.
5. Level the Unit
The pad that your condenser unit sits on can begin to tip throughout the year. Weather and seasonal changes cause the soil to settle, which then causes the pad to move off balance. An off-balance condenser can cause early compressor failure.
Level your unit a few times a year and use rot-resistant shims to help bring it to level when needed.
Know When to Call in the Professionals
Knowing how to perform air conditioning preventive maintenance on your own is helpful, but sometimes you need to turn to professionals for additional care and maintenance. Professional maintenance can alert you to any issues and help prolong the life of your AC system.
Plus, establishing a relationship with a professional HVAC company can give you access to help and advice year-round. You can learn more about managing the switch to air conditioning after a long winter, ask questions about your water heater, and more.