Who doesn’t like to come home to a cool and dry house after spending a day outside in the hot and humid summers? However, as is with every machine, air conditioners too need to regular maintenance and upkeep to perform to their best ability. In this article, we will understand the how and why of maintaining your precious units. Read on to learn more.
Why you should change the filters and how?
As a layperson, you may not know this but your AC’s efficiency takes a serious hit if the filters are dirty. This is the reason it is very important to install a new one every month during peak summer seasons to ensure that your unit is functioning optimally. Do you want to know how your AC filter is performing? Check for minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The ideal number ranges from 1 to 12 for home units. For better filtration, you should aim for a higher MERV. The lower the number, the more energy it will require to provide you cool air.
Why you need to check for leaks and how to fix it
You can lose as much as 30% of airflow due to leaks in your ducts. Not to mention how difficult it can be to seal a window AC properly. If you want to find any hidden leaks in your AC unit, you must use the old smoke trick. For window AC’s, you can use an incense stick and hold it close to the area where your unit meets the window frame. If you have a central AC unit, then you need to hold the stick close to duct connections. Notice the smoke and if it blows around, then you have a leakage. A ductwork leak can be fixed with foil tape to close small gaps. For the larger ones, you would require a duct mastic. In the case of window AC, stick foam in the gap and tape it up to prevent it from moving.
Install a programmable timer
Why leave your AC running for the time you are away? If you have a central unit, you can install a programmable thermostat can auto set to higher temperatures when you are away and cooler temperature when you are at home. New window units have pre-installed timers and adjustable thermostat. If not, you can buy one for as low as $20. Avoid shutting off the system as it would have to work harder to cool your house later.
Clear all foliage near condenser/compressor
Normally, an air compressor and condenser for a central unit is located outside the house. According to experts of Houston AC Repair, it is advisable to leave at least 24 inches of clear space on all sides. Therefore, you must consider removing all shrubs, leaves, hanging branches, and tall grass around the area. You can also consider installing condenser or window units on the north or east side of your house. You can also build a screen around it to protect it direct sunlight.
Keep your unit shielded
Did you know that exposing your AC unit to direct sunlight can impact its efficiency by 10%? But can extend the life of your AC system by drawing the blinds or pulling the shades down. If your AC is installed in the south, then you can also install awnings to shield it from the intense sun. It is also recommended to run your AC with a fan so that you can distribute the cool air through the house/room effectively.
Maintain your unit
Check with your dealer who installed your AC if they have an annual cleaning and maintenance schedule. Usually, these companies offer a thorough cleaning service that goes far beyond just cleaning the filters. Ideally, your AC maintenance should happen right before the commencement of the cooling season. When signing up for an annual maintenance plan, make sure your service provider offers cleaning and inspection of coils, filter cleaning or replacement, adjustment of fan belts, lubrication of motors, checking blowers and fans, a thorough inspection of safeties and controls, verification of operating temperatures, checking for pressures, etc.
Consider an upgrade
If you have an old unit, then you may have to consider upgrading it if you want it to perform efficiently and optimally. According to federal standards, you need to check the Seasonal Energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) for central units and energy efficiency ratio (EER) for window ACs. The standards require SEER to be 13 and EER to be 8.
Knowing about your AC’s maintenance and repair is necessary if you want to increase its lifespan and ensure its long-lasting efficiency. Use the tips in this article to understand the know-how and hire a reliable service provider based on this knowledge.