Caring for Your AC

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For those who live in the hottest areas of the country during the summer, air conditioning can seem like a godsend. Not only can a good air conditioner keep a home cool and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year, but it can also keep humidity to a minimum and otherwise improve the air quality. Unfortunately, people tend to take their air conditioning for granted and run it non-stop without taking into account that they need to take care of their AC units. Breakdowns are common among air conditioning systems in the summer, and the vast majority of these can be avoided if people would only take the time to perform some basic care and maintenance on their systems. While there are problems with air conditioners that require the expertise of a good technician, there are still some basic things that homeowners can do to keep their air conditioners in top condition for years. Here are just a few tips to help you take care of your AC.


Start Slow

On really hot days, there may be a temptation to turn up your air conditioner as high as it will go as soon as you turn it on. This can actually be very hard on your unit and could shorten its lifespan. Whenever you turn on your air conditioner, you should always keep it at a lower setting at first and turn it up later. This is especially important for older units that may have more wear and tear than newer models.

Change the Air Conditioner Filters

Changing the filters is quite possibly the most important bit of maintenance that can be performed on an air conditioner. The filters capture dirt and debris that would otherwise travel into the air and create health problems, but they can also become clogged and significantly reduce the efficiency of an air conditioning unit. Cleaning or replacing an air conditioner’s filters can actually increase its efficiency by as much as 15 percent. It is recommended that the filters of an air conditioner be cleaned or replaced every one to two months depending on how often the air conditioner is used. Fur-bearing pets in the home may also decrease the life of filters, requiring more frequent replacements and cleanings.

Clean the Coils

Air conditioner filters will keep the unit’s coils relatively clean, but some dirt and debris will still get through. Regularly cleaning the coils of an air conditioner will greatly improve the unit’s efficiency and extend its lifespan, so make sure to check your evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coils at least once a year and clean them as necessary.

Routine Inspections

The most basic maintenance and care of an air conditioner can be completed by a homeowner, but there are still some issues that only an experienced repair technician may notice. Contact a local air conditioner repair technician to schedule a routine inspection of your unit every season, preferably in the spring before the regular cooling season begins. These technicians can make sure that your air conditioner is working at its peak efficiency by making sure that coolant levels are satisfactory, that the motor is oiled and that the belts don’t need to be replaced. Always remember that routine maintenance is a lot cheaper than repairs. A good technician could fix a minor problem before it gets out of hand.

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