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Tips for Keeping Your Air Conditioning Unit in Top Shape

An Annual HVAC Inspection, Routine Maintenance, and Filter Changing are Key

© 2012 by Arianna Davis; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A Residential Central Air Conditioner Condenser

The system that provides a home with heating and cooling, also called an HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) system should last a long time, but only if it’s properly maintained and kept in the best condition.

One thing the homeowner should do is call in an AC serviceman once a year, just before the start of the warm weather season, and have a professional check their air conditioning system.

They also shouldn’t hesitate to call in an expert in AC repair if there’s a problem with the system that they can’t fix by themselves.

It’s better for a homeowner to pay a professional than to make a problem worse because they don’t know what they’re doing.

Keep the Thermostat Constant

Some things that a homeowner can do to keep their air conditioning unit in top shape is to not repeatedly adjust the thermostat. Some people, coming into their house from a hot day outside, will go to the thermostat and set it lower.

This just wastes energy and actually doesn’t make the house cool off any faster. A homeowner should also invest in a programmable thermostat to further dissuade them from adjusting and readjusting the temperature.

If the home is outfitted with floor vents rather than ceiling defusers, the homeowner should keep the vents clear and not place furniture or any other obstacle over them.

They should vacuum the vents every week with a brush tool. Once each season the homeowner should clear debris from around the outside condenser. This will help the air circulate.

They should also clean the inside of the condenser unit once a season. This requires taking some things apart, brushing the metal fins (there is a special fin brush made just for this purpose) on the condenser coil then rinsing the coils with the garden hose.

If the homeowner doesn’t think they can handle this, they should call an AC services technician.

Replacing Your AC

If the homeowner is thinking of replacing the unit, it’s better to replace both the indoor and outdoor components that run the air conditioning, as both work together.

If the homeowner has a room unit air conditioner, it’s important to refrain from turning it on and off, the same way they shouldn’t repeatedly adjust the thermostat on a central air system.

If they do turn the room unit off, they should let it rest for at least five minutes before turning it back on. Turning it off and on stresses the compressor and can wear it down more quickly.

Keep Return Air Filters Clean

A/C filters are available in variable levels of granularity, depending on what they can capture, rated in microns. The finer granularity ones are more expensive, but important when family members or friends suffer from things like pet dander or even peanut allergies.

Like a central AC, room units shouldn’t be blocked, as it can build up heat which will make it less efficient and wear it out that much sooner. A room unit should also be vacuumed every week or so.

The filter should also be cleaned out at the beginning of warm weather season then cleaned every month while the air conditioner needs to work. If the filter is truly filthy it should be taken out and washed.

If it’s intolerably filthy, it can be replaced with a new filter bought at an appliance or home hardware store. The negligible price of a new filter is minor when compared to repair costs or the longevity of the unit itself.

Every year the homeowner should check the fins in the room unit to make sure they’re straight. If they’re bent, they should be straightened with a fan comb. This can also be bought at an appliance store.

Programmable AC Room Units are Well Worth the Capital Investment

The homeowner should also invest in a programmable AC room unit when they think of buying one. This can save on energy bills. A unit that’s programmed to turn on an hour before it’s time to go to bed.

This is much more energy efficient than a unit that’s blasted in an attempt to cool the bedroom down quickly when the homeowner enters the room.

These simple but doable tips will definitely let you make the most out of your air conditioner. Got tips of your own? Why not add them to the comment box below to benefit our other readers?

About the Author

Arianna Davis works in a variety of roles for Shafer Services including human resources and marketing. She enjoys writing and fixing things big and small. Shafer Services is a San Antonio AC and heating company with years of experience in helping customers with their HVAC needs.

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