Maintaining the Air Conditioner in Your Family HomeFebruary 4, 2015
Just as your car needs regular tune-ups to operate efficiently and you go to the doctor to help you remain healthy, your air conditioner needs periodic maintenance throughout the year to ensure that it keeps your loved ones comfortable. One of the simplest and most inexpensive things you can to do maintain high levels of energy efficiency is to clean the air filter at least once every three months. When an air filter is clogged with dirt and other debris, it can add 5 to 15 percent to your energy bill each month. Even more concerning, the dirt from the filter is released into the air you and your family breathe.
Your air conditioner may have either a replaceable paper or a removable washable filter. You should plan to replace the paper filter every couple of times you clean it. These filters are inexpensive and typically come in a package of three. Filters that you can wash cost more initially, but you don’t have to replace them as often. Be sure to pay attention to the filter’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) if you are concerned about air quality. The MERV rating lets you know the smallest particle that can pass through the filter and into your air.
Easy Maintenance for AC Parts
Even if you’re not mechanically inclined, you can still perform simple maintenance on several parts of your cooling unit. You can start by checking on its evaporator coil and cleaning it at least once a year. You can easily spot the coil inside of the unit by its curly appearance. The condenser coil on the outside unit also needs regular attention. This is because leaves, grass kicked up from the lawn mower, discharge from your dryer vent, and even animal droppings get inside of it and make it too dirty to perform efficiently. In addition to cleaning the coil itself, clean around the outdoor unit and keep all foliage at least two feet away from it.
The condensate drain is another part that is simple to maintain. When you notice that the pan is full, be sure to empty it so it doesn’t overflow. It’s also important to prevent clogged drains before this problem stops the air conditioner from reducing humidity in your home. If the unit appears to sweat a lot or your walls are discolored from moisture, you need to arrange for affordable HVAC repair.
Best Seasonal Maintenance Practices
When cooler weather comes around and you won’t need to use your air conditioner for a while, be certain to cover the outdoor unit with a plastic tarp. This keeps it from filling up with various forms of yard debris until you’re ready to use it again.
Before turning on the air conditioner for the first time in the spring, schedule a routine preventive maintenance appointment. A technician performs several services on your unit, including replenishing refrigerant levels, making sure your thermostat reads accurately, checking belts for wear and tightness, lubricating moving parts, measuring the levels of airflow and much more. If the technician identifies a repair concern, it’s best to fix it before the air conditioner faces the heavy demands of the warm weather season.
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