Taking Care Of Your Air Conditioner All Year
Air conditioning units that were once considered a luxury can now be found in nearly 90% of American homes. The US demands more energy to power air conditioning than the rest of the world combined, to provide an illustration of how important they have become to us. In some hotter areas of the country, air conditioning is considered a basic necessity and is expected to come with homes when purchased or rented to people. Thus maintenance of your air conditioning system has become an essential part of general home upkeep. Regular maintenance will keep your AC working efficiently, save on energy costs and increase its lifespan.
The Importance Of Maintenance
An air conditioner has coils, filters and fins that regularly need cleaning and/or servicing to keep it working at its best. Neglecting to do so can lead to an increase in energy consumption as well as a steady decline in cool air that you probably won’t notice to begin with. Professional servicing of your air conditioner can make it last 40% longer, but only 42% of American owners do this. Filters need to be cleaned or replaced approximately every 3-6 months, depending on how many people live in the home and if there are any pets. Filters catch dust and dirt and remove it from the air you’re breathing. If the filters get too much build up however, it will begin to stop up the moving parts in the machine, such as its fans and motors. Energy bills will increase as the air conditioner draws more power to produce cool air and a greater strain is put on the motor.
Summer AC Usage
As the weather gets warm people automatically begin turning their air conditioning on. This is the time to be sure the inner works of your AC are in good condition. Many people choose to clean their air conditioner themselves, which is perfectly plausible with a little know how. Be sure to disconnect the power cord before doing anything else. Clean your filters first, if you haven’t already recently done so last season. Dirty filters can add 5-15% to your electric bill and shorten the lifespan of your unit. The condenser coils come next, with the condenser unit usually outside. Clean out any debris, leaves or water sitting in the unit or around the coils. Next check the coolant lines for missing or damaged insulation and replace if necessary. Now you can turn the power back on and enjoy the cool air!
Cool Weather Maintenance
During winter the last thing many people are thinking of is their air conditioning unit, but maintenance at the end of the season is essential. Carrying out a similar routine in cleaning, changing filters or other minor repairs on your AC in the fall/winter, just as you do in the summer will give you the same benefits. The main element that will need cleaning during the winter is the condenser unit outside. Ideally you want to keep this covered during the winter to avoid leaves and debris building up in the condenser unit and coils, this will mean there is minimum cleaning required. Turning your air conditioner on occasionally for a few minutes, will also help to keep dust and bacteria from building up as well as eliminating unpleasant smells they can cause.
Here is an excellent article with more details on Steps To Winterizing Your Air Conditioning Unit