How Do I Take Care of My Air Conditioner in the Summer?
by Direct Energy
Your air conditioner works hard every summer to keep the inside of your home cool, but that means it's likely to become dirty and clogged with such frequent use. This is bad news for your utility bill, because when certain parts of your air conditioner aren't cleaned promptly, the entire unit has to work harder and use more energy to create the comfortable environment you desire.
Fortunately, regular maintenance can prevent your bill from skyrocketing. Practice these five routine maintenance tips throughout the summer to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently.
1) Schedule a Maintenance Checkup Before Summer
Each spring, schedule an appointment to have your air conditioner inspected by a professional. An HVAC technician will be able to diagnose the more serious issues that sometimes arise after years of use, like refrigerant leaks, and then fix the damage to restore your high-functioning air conditioner.
2) Check the Pipe Insulation of Your Air Conditioner
Torn or disintegrated insulation can impact the air conditioner's cooling power. Inspect the insulation covering the coolant pipes each summer, and replace them if necessary to keep the air conditioner running efficiently. You can easily remove the old insulation and replace it with new materials yourself. This handy guide shows you the step-by-step process, using a special foam insulation.
3) Replace Air Conditioner Filters
Once the power has been shut off and the furnace doors removed, begin your furnace maintenance by giving the furnace wires a slight pull to ensure they are tight and properly fitted.
Dust and Vacuum
Replacing filters regularly is one of the most importance air conditioner maintenance tasks to tackle on a regular basis. Why? Here are a few reasons:
A dirty filter forces the air conditioner unit to work harder and increases energy use. By replacing filters at the appropriate times, you can save up to 15 percent on utility costs.
When a filter is clogged, it can wreak havoc on your entire system. By replacing filters, you can extend the longevity of your air-conditioner unit.
Lastly, a clean air filter provides clean air for your home. This is especially important if you or someone in your family has allergies.
How often you change a filter can depend on several factors, including the make and model of your air conditioner, but most experts recommend replacing your filter once a month.
4) Clean Your Air Conditioner Coils
Dirty air conditioner coils cannot absorb heat as effectively as clean ones, so be sure to clean the evaporator and condenser coils when necessary. You can easily do this with a garden hose, but be careful not to get any electrical connections wet. When cleaning coils, inspect the fins as they are delicate and bend easily. If you notice any bent fins, simply straighten them out using a "fin comb."
5) Inspect Wiring
Check wiring in the condensing unit for any signs of overheating or wear (remember to turn off the air-conditioner unit before you begin). If you see burned-looking or worn-out wires, call a professional to repair the damage.