For many homeowners, the air conditioning is something that runs in the background and requires minimal attention. However, conducting preventative maintenance and handling this important system with care can keep it running smoothly and dramatically improve its lifespan.
Here are some practical tips for maintaining your AC in great working condition.
Schedule an Annual Tune Up
Don’t fall into the trap of reactive maintenance, only calling a service technician when a problem arises. Instead, schedule an annual AC tune up service to ensure everything is in good working order and to prevent issues before they arise.
During a tune up service, the technician will make minor repairs and adjustments to your system. They’ll conduct tests and clean out debris and grime to ensure all parts are in good working order. This affordable service will help prevent costly repair issues or breakdowns during the peak season.
Use Curtains Strategically
The harder your air conditioner has to work to keep the room cool, the shorter its lifespan will be. One of the biggest combatants to your air conditioning service is residual heat from the sun. As the sun shines through your windows, it raises the temperature in that room. As such, your AC unit will have to work harder to offset the impacts and keep the temperature balanced.
Consider hanging thermal or blackout curtains in South and East-facing rooms to close during peak sunlight hours. This simple change will put less pressure on your air conditioning system, so your home stays comfortable and cool.
Know the Signs of Failure
It’s rare for an AC unit to shut down and fail without warning. There are typically a few signs of impending failure to watch for before it reaches that point.
Strange odors or sounds are a prime indicator of something happening with your air conditioning system. Check to see if there are notable signs of leaks or loose connections, and call a repair person as soon as possible.
Other signs are more subtle. You might notice the absence of sound or short-cycling, in which your unit starts to kick in and then shuts off. You might also notice that the temperature displayed on the thermostat doesn’t seem to match the perceived temperature of the room.
Finally, if you notice your power bill spiking upward beyond what’s typical during the summer months, there’s likely an issue with your AC. This expensive sign indicates that your air conditioner is working harder than it should and using more power.
Use Fans for Air Distribution
Using fans for air distribution can help mitigate stress on your air conditioner and help keep consistent temperatures throughout the house. This strategy is especially important in multi-level homes.
If you have a whole-house air conditioning system, consider shutting vents in unused rooms to distribute the air where it’s needed the most.
Adjust the Temperature Slightly
Adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can help save on cooling costs while extending the lifespan of your AC unit. Set rules in your home about adjusting the temperature, and use other tools (curtains, cooling bracelets, fans, etc.) before cranking up the AC.
If your preferred temperature is 70 degrees, consider setting it at 72. Your body likely won’t notice the difference, but your cooling system will.
Clean the Filters Often
Cleaning your AC filters to remove dust and debris will improve your home’s airflow and air quality. It will also put less stress on your system, allowing it to run better for longer.
Use these simple strategies to maintain your AC in good working condition. If an issue arises, call a home cooling specialist as soon as possible.
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