When the summer months approach and temperatures start to soar, air conditioning becomes one of the essential keys to keeping cool and enjoying your home. Many people don’t think about regular air conditioning maintenance, however, which leaves them at risk of sizzling in the summer heat with a broken air conditioning unit. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your units continue to provide relaxing cool air all summer long. Here are some for you to consider.
The US Department of Energy says that keeping your air conditioning unit filters cleaned is “the most important maintenance task.” Regularly cleaning your air conditioning filters and replacing them when needed is key to keeping your units running efficiently. Efficiency is what you want to keep in mind because not only does it save you money on your home cooling bills, but it also ensures that you’re getting the maximum cooling power out of your system. If your air conditioner is a room-by-room system (rather than centralized), you can find the filters in the grill system just under the cover.
Clean filters are just one part of routine air conditioner maintenance, and having your units serviced regularly helps to ensure that you don’t encounter emergency “surprises” in which your air conditioner no longer cools as it should. A maintenance visit to perform a check-up on your air conditioning unit is best performed before the hot weather hits, so you can be ready to switch on the air as soon as you need it. Regular maintenance tasks include removing debris, cleaning around the unit, inspecting the evaporator drain for clogs, cleaning the coils, and cleaning and straightening the fins.
If your home is equipped with a central air conditioning, another important maintenance task is to keep the outdoor compressor units clear of obstructions and debris. The compressor units need to have “room to breathe.” That means if shrubs or bushes have started to encroach on the compressor, it’s time to cut them back so that the unit is able to do its job, which is to exchange hot air for cold.
When Repairs Are Needed
While regular maintenance is the right step to help you prevent unexpected malfunctions and breakdowns, naturally there may be a time when you’ll need to call in a professional for air conditioning repairs. Professionals are able to help you get your air conditioning back up and running in a variety of ways. They inspect the unit to diagnose the problem and then prepare an estimate of the costs to complete the repairs.
Air conditioning repairs aren’t necessarily the only time you should call a service professional. There are some types of maintenance tasks that you won’t be able to complete by yourself. Air conditioning units run on freon, the gas refrigerant that cools the air. When it runs out or runs low, it needs to be refilled by a service professional who can check the current level of freon and determine how much is needed. This operation doesn’t take long, but it is an essential one if you want to keep your air conditioning running in top condition.
Cool and Relaxed All Year Long
One last consideration is how to care for your air conditioning unit during the winter. If there’s an outdoor unit, clean the surface and then cover it with a plastic or vinyl cover, tied down securely to resist winds and protect the unit. Checking the cover throughout the off-season will keep the unit clean from grime and debris during the winter months, and ensure that it’s ready to go back into action once again when the weather heats back up.