Air conditioners are one of the most appreciated inventions of modern times. From providing a comfortable and sound sleep environment at night to the recirculation of fresh air throughout the building during the day, air conditioners have changed our lives forever. As essential as they are, homeowners across the world struggle to keep their air conditioning systems up and running. Every year, they spend a massive amount of money in maintenance, repair and replacement, having already spent a fortune in purchasing and installing the air conditioner in the first place. In 2017, American homeowners spent a whopping $30 billion on air conditioning over and above electricity costs, according to a report from the United States Department of Energy. Here’s how you can go about taking care of your air conditioner.
Schedule professional maintenance service at regular intervals
Regular and timely maintenance is an essential part of every appliance, even more so in the case of air conditioners. The best way to keep your air conditioning unit in good repair is by scheduling professional maintenance appointments once a year, or if possible, every few months. This helps keep tabs on the health of your air conditioning system and ensure you aren’t in for any surprises. During a scheduled maintenance service session, a professional technician will thoroughly inspect, clean, and tune your air conditioning system and perform any air conditioning repairs needed. This ensures optimum performance and creates an opportunity to identify serious issues in the system before they become problems that can disrupt your air conditioning system entirely.
Change the air filter once a month
If you love your air conditioner and truly mean to take care of it, make sure you change the air filter(s) once a month, or at a more convenient but frequent interval.
Air filters in air conditioning systems effectively remove solid contaminants like smoke, dust, dander, pollen and grease to clean the air and improve air quality in the area they serve. Such pollutants can cause mild to serious respiratory issues in people across all age groups. Other indoor pollutants are also quite common due to the many chemicals contained in everyday products we use.
Air filters need to be cleaned regularly to avoid getting bogged down with solid contaminants. If the filters are too dirty and poorly maintained, air conditioners cannot function efficiently. Changing or cleaning the air filters regularly can effectively improve the energy consumption of the system by 5% to 15%, which means lower energy costs for you.
If you have a central air conditioner installed, you can find the air filter around the return duct. Air filters are also commonly located in ceilings, walls, furnaces, or within the air conditioning unit itself. In the case of room air conditioners, the air filters are mounted in the grill facing into the room. Not all air filters are reusable, so make your decision to clean and reuse or replace entirely according to the type of filters your system uses.
Thoroughly clean the coils
With time, due to dust and dirt, air conditioning coils get covered in a layer of debris. This layer of dirt insulates the air conditioner coil in such a way that the coil cannot absorb as much heat as it otherwise would. This makes your air conditioner less effective in cooling your home. Poorly maintained air conditioner coils result in additional strain on the air conditioning system as it has to work harder to perform the same tasks. Regularly cleaning the coils averts any unnecessary strain and also streamlines your air conditioning maintenance experience.
Some immediate measures you could take in this regard include thoroughly cleaning the coil and the area around it, removing dirt and debris from fallen leaves, dryer vents and lawn mowers, and trimming foliage to a bare minimum.
Check if the condenser or evaporator fins are bent
Air conditioning systems have fins that can wear over time. You may notice fins that are bent or disoriented. Condensers and evaporators need sufficient airflow to function. You can remedy this by either getting yourself a fin comb to straighten these fins or reach out to a professional technician for a routine air conditioner repair.
Check the condensation drain line for clogs
The condensation drain line connects the condenser coil with the drainage point which is located outside the building. Over time, the condensation drain can clog due to mold and mildew growing inside the system. This can severely block the system and, in turn, disrupt the functioning of the air conditioner. You can use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out the mold and mildew from the drain line. Inspect the drain line frequently to ensure it is clean and smooth. You could also bleach the drain line to keep mold from growing on the inside. When it comes to cleaning the drain line, air conditioning repair can get messy, so wear gloves and/or take some protective measures for best results.
Inspect the window seals for room air conditioners
The seal that keeps the window frame in contact with the air conditioner’s metal case has to be inspected frequently to ensure a tight seal. This seal can be damaged by moisture, causing a poor fit that allows air to escape from the room.
Getting an air conditioner installed is the right approach to beating the heat and leading a comfortable and healthy life. Therefore, your commitment to taking good care of your unit is significant. On average, an air conditioning unit can last up to 15 or 20 years. However, in many cases, we see these units last 5 to 8 years, less than half the expected longevity of the system. The primary reason why most air conditioners do not last as long as expected is the lack of routine maintenance and negligence of timely air conditioning unit repair. Minor issues, when identified at an early stage, can easily be resolved giving you more years of quality service from the unit you invested in.