To get the most value out of your air conditioner you need to know what routine air conditioning maintenance steps to follow. The expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is absolutely the case here since applying a little know-how can keep routine problems from ballooning into costly AC repairs or the need to purchase a new air conditioner.
Air Conditioning Maintenance 101
Your air conditioner is working hard from April to August, and all of that cooling is going to have an effect on your physical air conditioning unit. One of the most common, and easily remedied, problems that air conditioners face in terms of daily wear and tear is the gradual accumulation of grime and debris on your air conditioning unit’s air filter.
While cleaning your filter is fairly easy – and we’ll get to this in a second – not doing so can have pretty disastrous effects with respect to your unit’s energy efficiency, ability to last for decades to come, and the sheer amount of extra money that you may have to spend on your utility bills.
- Cleaning Your AC’s Air Filter
Especially if you have someone in the office who suffers from an allergy, you need to keep your AC’s air filter gunk-free. Clogged air filters are actually the number one culprit behind residential heating and cooling issues. This is because they skyrocket your energy consumption, potentially lead to frozen evaporator coils, and might even result in a full-blown unit failure months – not years – down the line.
Many new air conditioners feature filters that work right into the front grille of the unit and can easily be slipped out for changing the filter, or giving it its monthly scrubbing. Note that you may have to remove the front panel of its fitted screws before getting at the filter: Every unit is a little different but, again, newer units typically have a filter that can seamlessly slide in and out of the front grille.
Once you’ve got your filter in hand, then inspect it! If you see any obvious imperfections or rips, then it’s probably best to go ahead and replace the filter. If you only notice grime and other forms of debris, then you can try vacuuming away the debris before cleaning your unit with soap and water and placing it in your sink for drying. The Department of Energy recommends cleaning or replacing your filter at least once per month.
- Unclog Your HVAC Condenser
One of the most common issues that HVAC professionals get house calls about every spring is an HVAC condenser chock full of leaves and other outdoor debris. Debris of any kind clogging your HVAC’s condenser is going to hurt your units ability to cool your home and freely circulate.
It might be best to have an HVAC professional come take a look, but there are condenser coil cleaning solutions out there to make the job easier. You might also want to take a look under the hood and inspect your evaporator unit on your indoor unit at least once, preferably twice, per year as well.
- Check Your Coolant Levels
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) actually recommends that HVAC unit be checked yearly. Signs that you may be running low on coolant include: poor cooling capacity, a hissing noise, poor energy efficiency, and warm air coming out of the supply vent. If you’re experiencing any kind of leak or you’re worried that your coolant levels may be low, contact us your heating and cooling specialist right away.