Advice From Shanklin Heating & Air Conditioning
Your air conditioner works hard throughout the year to keep you comfortable, with each day of operation putting just a little bit of wear on its mechanical and electrical components. This is why over time, your air conditioner needs maintenance to do its best — the same as any other complicated piece of equipment, be it your water heater, your car, or your furnace.
While many vital AC maintenance tasks require tools and expertise beyond what a homeowner should take on, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your system operating well between annual tune-ups by a professional! Today, we’ll talk about what you can keep up with on your own to get the most out of your AC.
Replace or Clean Your Air Filter
The air filter of your AC plays an important role in keeping dirt and debris from entering the delicate components of your system — not to mention keeping the air you breathe clean. Depending on the type of filter you have and how much it picks up, you might need to replace it once every month to avoid problems — if you have very fine filters, you might need to do it even more often than that during the peak usage months of summer. Some systems call for a filter to be cleaned instead of replaced — your owner’s manual should have more information on the specifics.
Regardless of the details, no other homeowner maintenance task is as important as this. A dirty filter slows air intake, forcing your system to work harder for worse results and thus putting far more strain on every component of your system. It also increases the risk of problems such as frozen coils and can even block your system entirely if you have a fine filter that gets dirty enough.
Clean Your Ducts and Registers
Along similar lines and for similar reasons, keep an eye on your registers (the vents the air comes from) and the ducts behind them. Be sure that nothing is blocking them and that large amounts of dust and other debris haven’t made a home in your ducts. In most homes, you’ll be able to clear out much of the problem on your own as long as you have a screwdriver to remove the registers.
Clean Up the Outdoor Unit
The external unit of your air conditioner is where heat is removed from refrigerant, thus from your home; if it can’t do that job properly, your refrigerant can’t be cooled and your air conditioner can’t blow cold air. Make sure the fans and fins of your system can move freely without debris and dirt slowing them or blocking them entirely.
Shutting off the power to your air conditioner for safety, then brushing, removing, wiping, and hosing the exterior unit clean is a good way to keep things working in peak condition throughout the year. Just don’t mess with any of the more delicate inner components on your own.
Watch Your Thermostat
You might not be able to calibrate or test your thermostat easily, but you can watch it to see if it seems to be behaving correctly. Problems with your thermostat can cost you a lot of money, so when something goes wrong, it may be time to schedule AC repair. This can help you catch problems early on before they become larger and more costly to address.
When To Call Shanklin Instead
When you notice something that doesn’t quite seem right about your air conditioner, be it strange noises or smells, evidence of leaks or moisture accumulation, thick dust in your ductwork you can’t access, or electrical problems like breakers flipping or scorch marks on your system, don’t leave it until later.
Even if your system seems to be working fine, little issues like this will accumulate into bigger problems down the line — the same way your system working hard through a filthy air filter can wear it down.
Schedule Annual AC Maintenance with Professionals!
Of course, as important as changing filters and cleaning your system may be, the best thing you can do for your air conditioner each year is to schedule a tune-up with an HVAC professional. Doing so will extend the service life of your system, reduce your risk of a breakdown and costly repairs when you need your system the most, and keep you more comfortable with better energy efficiency throughout the summer.