Dirt and dust are the leading causes for air conditioning system failure according to the EPA. Stay comfortable and save money by keeping your central air conditioner in tip-top shape. When your air conditioner is running well it uses less energy to cool your home, and lower energy use means bigger savings on your monthly utility bills. Air conditioners at peak efficiency will use up to 20% less electricity and last years longer (requiring less repair).
Early air conditioner maintenance will reveal most small problems that can lead to major, more expensive problems if left unattended. Home air conditioning repairs are something you can legitimately put off for a long time – if you schedule a tune-up every year.
Experts say that the average home’s central air conditioning system runs about 3,300 hours per year. That’s the equivalent of driving your car 65 miles per hour for 214,000 miles, non-stop! You can’t run your car, and shouldn’t run your air conditioner that long without maintenance.
Keeping your air conditioner in good working order helps reduce the amount of electricity it needs to keep your house cool, saving you money on your electricity bill. It will also save you money in the long run with fewer repairs and a longer service life for your air conditioning system. And last, but not least, a well-managed system means a more comfortable home for you and your family.
Here are some helpful A/C tips for homeowners:
- Before turning on your unit make sure the condensing unit located outside is not covered up. This unit needs to draw air into the system in order to have something to cool and blow out inside, but the process will be hindered if it cannot pull enough air from the outside.
- Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
- A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. Homeowners are strongly discouraged from using a hose and water to try to clean it themselves because of the very serious risk of electrical shock and possible shorting of electrical components. You should contact a licensed HVAC professional.
- Run your air conditioner for a few minutes now, before you need it. If you wait until the first hot day to discover it isn’t working, you’ll find yourself on a waiting list, sweltering sometimes for days before an air conditioning specialist can come to fix it.
- Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the evaporator to ice up. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced. Electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly.
- Be sure all access panels are secure, with the screws in place.
- Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode. Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.