With the heat of the summer upon us, no one wants to risk their air conditioner going out. Fortunately you can usually keep it going by making sure to take the best possible care of it. Here are five tips for keeping your air conditioner in top form, ensuring you’ll stay cool while the heat is on.
Keep the Outdoor Unit Clear
One of the basics of central air conditioning, yet most often overlooked when it comes to AC maintenance, is keeping the outdoor unit clear. This unit, called the condenser, is crucial to the proper functioning of the system. Basically, air conditioning is pulling heat out of your house and transferring it to the outside; the condenser releases the heat into the outdoor
Change the Filter Regularly
If you have central air conditioning, changing the furnace filter isn’t just for the winter, when the heat is running. You also should be sure to change the filter during the summer. Cooling air flows through the same unit, and a dirty fan can cause similar issues with an air conditioner, except perhaps even worse: Not only does a dirty filter mean that you’re blocking cool air from getting into your home and preventing the AC from functioning as efficiently, but you’re also putting your AC at risk of freezing up, which will ultimately cause the system to shut down. We recommend installing pleated filters.
Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
It might not seem like it could keep your air conditioner running, but using a programmable or smart thermostat can actually help maximize your central air’s lifespan. How? Anything that will make your air conditioner not have to work as hard is good for it in the long run. By getting a programmable or smart thermostat, you can run the temperatures in your home higher during the day, when it’s sunny and outdoor temperatures are at their hottest, and get the house colder at night when it’s dark and cooler outside. This is even better than turning the system off entirely during the day when you’re gone and turning it back on when you get home from work, as that just means the system has to work harder and longer to get the temperature back down in the evening. Optimum temperature range span is 8º.
Draw the Curtains
While we’re on the topic of reducing the workload on your air conditioner, don’t forget about one simple but often overlooked way to keep the heat down: installing insulating curtains on all your windows. Keeping the curtains drawn to block out direct sunlight can reduce the temperature in your home by several degrees, if not more, and prevent your AC from having to work as hard to cool it. And as we’ve already discussed, not having to work as hard is one of the best ways to keep your air conditioner working for longer.
Get Regular Maintenance
All the tips in the book won’t save you if you don’t get your air conditioner maintained regularly. Central AC is much like a car, needing routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly. For instance, when you get an annual inspection, the technician will change the filter, inspect the wiring, check that the ducts are all clear, and make sure that the motor, compressor, and cooling fins are all in tip-top shape to do their job properly. This not only ensures that any problems will be caught and repaired when they are small, but also prevents problems from becoming worse, such as a bad relay burning out the entire motor.
Know When It’s Time to Call the Professionals
There are some parts of air conditioner maintenance that you can do on your own, such as keeping the condensing unit clear, changing the filter, and minimizing how hard the AC has to work. For all the rest, call Maeser. With superior experience and a name you can trust make us the ones to turn to when you want your AC kept in tip top shape.