Simple Guide to A/C Maintenance & Tune Up
Air conditioning is the modern luxury many people take for granted right until it breaks down and stops working. There’s nothing worse than spending an afternoon in a house that offers no break from the sweltering summer heat. As a homeowner, you should pay attention to your ac unit.
Giving your air conditioning unit some TLC occasionally can save you thousands in cooling and repair costs. In essence, treat your AC like you would your car. Even though the air conditioning system is only functional about four months out of the year, regular maintenance will ultimately extend its life and help maintain its operating efficiency.
In the same way that servicing your car improves your gas mileage levels, tuning your ac can help prevent major breakdowns while saving money in energy costs. In addition to annual tune-ups, there are several things you can do to keep your system in tip-top shape.
Here’s an essential guide on how to maintain and repair your air conditioning system.
Preventative Maintenance for HVAC Systems
Air conditioner maintenance involves providing proper care at regular intervals to increase your system’s life span. HVAC units differ from one manufacturer to another. Therefore, it’s important to read through your unit’s operating manuals to determine the optimal air conditioner maintenance periods.
You have to understand how your air conditioner works before starting up on HVAC repair and maintenance. Central air conditioning systems have two main components: an outdoor unit (compressor/condenser) and an indoor cabinet. The system forces air through the ductwork into your home.
If you have a heat pump instead of a furnace, the indoor unit with the evaporator will be in the air handler as opposed to a central duct near your furnace.
DIY Annual Preventative AC Maintenance
To get the most out of your AC, you can maintain a few aspects of your ac unit to keep it running properly. You may be able to handle these maintenance tips yourself, but it’s best to rely on experts to manage these.
Here are some preventative HVAC maintenance tips:
1. Clean the condenser unit
The condenser and compressor are two of the most critical parts of your AC units. Typically, the condenser is found outside, but it can also be in your garage or attic, depending on your AC’s design. It works by cooling the air blown inside and drawing warm air out.
It’s important to power off the unit before cleaning the condenser. You can do this by removing the breaker or powering off the mains. To clean the outdoor cabinet:
- Clear debris and grass growing around the unit. Grass and weeds can grow into the unit, disabling some of its functions. Spraying a vegetation killer while mowing your lawn could prevent this from happening.
- Clean the condenser coil and fan – The ac coils and fins have to be kept clean and clear at all times. Leaves and other debris could obstruct the coils making your unit to work harder just to function as it should. You brush and wipe down the coils or use a garden hose to do a little housekeeping. Don’t use a pressure washer; it could destroy the delicate components.
- Inspect the wiring – Check for cracked or missing insulation. You can repair with electrical tape or call in the experts if the wiring is extensively damaged.
- Repair pipe insulation – If damaged, the insulation needs to be replaced with refrigerant-grade pipe insulation.
2. Cleaning the indoor unit
The indoor unit consists of an evaporator and blower. The evaporator coils get dirty over time and have to be cleaned regularly to avoid drops in efficiency.
- Clean the evaporator coil – There are two ways to clean the evaporator coil. For one, you can use a foaming aerosol or liquid coil cleaner to lift debris off the coil’s surface. The other method involves removing the coil from the furnace and giving it a chemical bath, but it’s a process best left to the professionals.
- Drain line maintenance – The evaporator coil works by lowering air temperature and turning humid air into condensate, which flows down the drain line. Flushing the drain system by pouring hot water into the access point can unclog the sludge allowing the condensate to drain easier.
3. Change the Filters
Cleaning the air filters is a central part of air conditioning maintenance. Filters should be swapped out for new ones at least twice a year – ideally, once before the cold season and right before the warm season. If you live in a particularly dusty area, your filters will need more frequent attention.
For central air conditioners, the air filters can be found anywhere along the length of the return duct, including in the walls, ceilings, plus furnaces.
Changing your filters regularly will improve overall air quality and lessen the workload on the system’s components. Dirty filters make the fan work harder, reducing airflow across the evaporator coil.
Call In the Professionals
While you can take care of periodic air conditioner maintenance tasks, an actual annual maintenance calls for experienced hands. An air conditioner is a sophisticated machine that requires some nuanced tune-ups. A professional will diagnose any electrical faults, check for proper ductwork functioning and compressor short-cycling concerns.
Professional HVAC maintenance can prevent premature wearing out of ac components or even total breakdowns. Here are some other situations that necessitate expert air conditioning service:
- Your air conditioning isn’t cooling when on, or some sections of your home are warmer than others.
- Your ac is blowing out hot air
- Your air conditioner won’t turn on or never goes off
- Minimal air flowing from the registers
- The ac is leaking or not regulating humidity
- Your ac is making strange squealing or grinding noises
Air Conditioning Service in Pinellas
If you’re looking for experienced HVAC contractors, ACHV can help you with your cooling and heating needs. Trust us when we say air conditioning repair bills can get quite expensive if you neglect maintenance which is why we have a special offer on air conditioning maintenance. Carrying out regular maintenance keeps your system working properly and efficiently.
Your ac system is an investment; let us help you increase its lifecycle and prevent breakdown while saving on utility bills. Contact us today to learn more about our special offer and keep up to date with ac maintenance. Remember, when in doubt, bring in a professional for ac maintenance, HVAC services, and repairs.