Sonoma is a lovely place to live, but it can become uncomfortably hot during summer. If you spend significant time in the area between May and September, you’ll want to make sure you can cool yourself off efficiently. However, you’ll also want to ensure that staying cool doesn’t get too expensive. To do so, you should learn as much as possible about your air conditioner so that you can keep it running without needing frequent repairs.
Let’s be clear about one thing: you don’t want to avoid professional air conditioning service altogether unless you happen to be an HVAC tech yourself. Air conditioners are sensitive and complicated machines, and they require regular attention from people who are well-trained to work on them. However, you can avoid many costly and unnecessary repairs by taking good care of your air conditioning unit by yourself and occasionally hiring a pro for some preventative maintenance or routine service. Below are five keys to avoiding air condition repair in Sonoma.
Keep Your Filters Clean
This is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your air conditioner in good shape, but you’d be utterly shocked to learn how many people neglect their filters until it’s too late. Your filters prevent dirt and other debris from infiltrating your system, where it can impair your air quality and prevent proper circulation. Poor air quality affects your ability to enjoy the air being cooled by your system, but poor circulation can cause damage to other, more expensive parts.
If your air conditioner must use more energy than normal to move air throughout your home, it will drive up your utility bills to uncomfortable levels. However, it can also cost you money in another way: by burning out your compressor. The compressor is one of the most expensive components you can replace in an air conditioner, often costing more than $1000. Replace your filters with new ones every month, and you’ll keep air moving through your system easily—reducing the likelihood of such an accident.
Clean the area around your outdoor unit regularly
Changing your filters on a regular basis is important, but it’s not the only simple thing you can do to keep your outdoor unit problem-free. There’s an even more comfortable thing you can do to prevent build up in your system from the outside. Every weekend, take a quick walk around your outdoor unit. If you see any twigs, grass clippings, or other junk within a two-foot radius of your outdoor unit, move it away. These items have the potential to blow into the unit, causing additional problems with circulation and air quality.
Check for leaks near your indoor unit
Leaking refrigerant has the potential to cause major problems for air conditioner owners. If enough refrigerant leaks from your system, oil may not be able to circulate properly, and it may suffer from lubrication issues. Your compressor can also fail without lubrication (it’s particularly sensitive), so this is something to avoid. Refrigerant leaks should be handled by a professional as soon as you notice them. Fixing a leak and recharging the refrigerant in your air conditioner can cost several hundred dollars, but it is often cheaper than the larger problems it can cause.
The refrigerant isn’t the only thing that can leak from your air conditioner, though. You may notice leaking water as well. Some of the problems that cause water leakage are relatively easy to solve on your own, so don’t jump to professional help if you see a bit of water pooling on the floor near your indoor unit. Instead, check your condensate drain. Clogged up condensate drain lines account for most water leaks in air conditioners. To prevent or eliminate small blockages, pour an equal mixture of water and bleach into your condensate drain every so often (at least once a year).
Schedule Regular Preventative Maintenance
As we said earlier, avoiding repairs doesn’t mean avoiding all contractors. On the contrary: having your AC tuned up once or twice a year can prevent major malfunctions that require pricey repairs. Find a service professional you can trust and arrange for them to visit you at least once a year. They’ll look over your system and alert you to any impending problems. Under certain agreements, they may even fix them on the spot, saving you from needing future repairs.
Don’t attempt anything for which you are not qualified
DIY projects can be fun, but they’re best for projects that don’t have the potential to cost you a lot of money. If you make a mistake fixing your toaster, you might be out a hundred dollars or so, but if you damage your air conditioner by biting off more than you can chew you could be out thousands. When in doubt, make sure you call in a professional for the quick fix. It will be cheaper than paying someone to undo mistakes caused by your hubris.
Remember the advice given here when operating your air conditioner in the Sonoma area, and you’ll be able to avoid paying for repairs unless it’s critical. Having an AC will always require an investment of some kind on your part, but you can stay cool more easily by making sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid the big jobs.
t Valley Comfort Heating and Air, we jump at the opportunity to prove our value to new customers. In your search for a qualified air conditioning service in Sonoma, please check us out.