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Keep Up With AC Maintenance Before It's Too Late

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Your air conditioner might be largely forgotten as the cooler months set in, but that next heat wave may be on its way. Switching on the AC after a long, system hibernation is often a recipe for failure. As an alternative, consider a basic maintenance schedule that will help you save money over the years. When you care for your AC system on a regular basis, it'll last longer and cost you less in upkeep costs.

Replace the Filter

The simplest task that you can perform for the AC is replacing the filter. Every system uses a rectangular or square filter that captures dust and debris. Over time, this filter fills up and creates a veritable blockage to incoming air. As a result, your AC system works harder to pull the air into its components. This extra stress wears down parts and causes more costs over time. Replace the filter once a month when the AC is being used on a regular basis.

Comb the Fins

The outdoor component to your AC system has a collection of fins around the coils. These fins direct air across the coils in order to cool the refrigerant. Because this system section resides outside, these fins become damaged over time. They might bend and block air flowing across the coils, which reduces the system's ability to cool the interior. A simple tool that you can use at home is a fin comb. Simply "comb" the fins so that they're parallel to each other. The system will work almost perfectly with straight fins.

Look for Leaks

Your AC unit has several leak points that should be accounted for on a regular basis. Access the indoor unit, and look for the condensate drains. Made of PVC pipes, these drains should allow drips of condensate to funnel out of the system and into the home's plumbing. Leaks shouldn't be found on floors or under the AC unit itself. Take a close look at the refrigerant hoses too. If any of these hoses are leaking, contacting a professional is your next step.

Hire Professional Help

Part of a successful AC maintenance schedule is hiring professionals at least once a year. These technicians can test areas that require special tooling, such as refrigerant levels and temperature-sensor accuracy. Ideally, schedule an appointment in the spring before hot weather arrives. If there are any major concerns to address, the technicians can work them out before the outside temperatures become too uncomfortable. Professionals complement your maintenance, and allow the system to work for a longer time period with fewer repair costs.

Clear Away the Dust

Shine a flashlight across your interior AC unit, and look for any accumulated dust. Use a vacuum extension to gently remove any dust along the coils. A dirty AC system must work harder to produce cool air. Dirty coils can't properly transfer heat, but clean coils will allow the system to work perfectly with each cycle. Clear dust and debris from your exterior unit too.

If you suspect that there's an electrical problem with your AC, consider calling a technician and electrician. An AC technician is entirely capable of troubleshooting the system's electrical components, but there might be other underlying issues that require an electrician's expertise. Don't postpone your AC maintenance, especially if electrical problems are involved. Safety should be your top priority.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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