There’s almost nothing worse than having to deal with a broken air conditioner in a heatwave. The initial signs of an imminent breakdown may be discreet—unusual noises, odd smells or decreased cooling. Before you know it, these small issues escalate into full-blown malfunctions. However, with a small amount of forethought and regular maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Here are 10 recommendations to protect against AC problems this summer.
One basic yet effective tip is to check the air filter each month and replace it when it appears dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter encourages smooth airflow, elevates indoor air quality and improves air conditioning efficiency. A plugged or dirty filter, on the other hand, causes your AC to work harder than it should, which could cause breakdowns.
The exterior AC unit needs enough space to intake and exhaust air easily. Regularly check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or twigs. Then, cut back all the plants growing within 12 inches of the unit. These actions can minimize AC problems and promote optimal performance.
Air conditioning doesn’t only cool the air—it also takes out unwanted humidity. This moisture drips into the condensate drain pan and then flows down the drain line. These two things can become blocked over time, causing leaks and possible water damage. Periodically inspect the drain pan and line for clogs to avert these AC issues.
Your air conditioner mostly operates with a soft, constant hum. If you hear unusual grinding, screeching or hissing, you can bet something’s wrong. Similarly, if you detect strange electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can indicate a number of AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and should be addressed promptly.
While closing vents in empty rooms may seem sensible, doing so makes pressure imbalances and decreases system efficiency. To avoid AC problems, keep at least 80 percent of your return and supply vents open and clear of furniture, rugs and curtains.
Programmable thermostats are intuitive devices that boost your air conditioning system’s operation and reduce the chance of problems. Once you program your cooling and heating schedule, you can sit back and unwind while your thermostat does the rest. Smart models are even more sophisticated, allowing you to check and adjust your home’s temperature when you aren’t home or even manage the settings with your voice.
Air conditioner efficiency doesn’t merely entail the unit’s mechanics. The right amount of insulation is also crucial for maintaining a comfortable interior, stopping warm air from seeping in and cold air getting out of your home. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation to an existing home, so glance inside the hatch to determine if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If it doesn’t, you may want to add more insulation to enjoy substantial energy savings and prevent straining your AC.
Turning on the oven, stove or clothes dryer when the sun is blazing significantly increases your AC unit’s workload. When feasible, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to minimize unnecessary AC activity. When preparing dinner in the summer, consider reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating cool meals like sandwiches and salads, or barbecuing outside on the backyard grill.
While a ceiling fan can’t replace an air conditioner, it can definitely complement it. Ceiling fans generate a wind chill effect that makes a room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This added comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, reducing the workload on your AC system and potentially preventing AC problems. Just remember to turn off the fan when you exit the space. That’s because the wind chill effect cools people, but it doesn’t lower the temperature in the room.
Regular AC tune-ups are a proactive measure aimed at finding and fixing minor issues before they intensify into serious problems. A once yearly check by a skilled HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner for summer, saving you from inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs by making sure your AC is working efficiently.
Now that you know the top tips to avoid air conditioning problems, you can follow these steps to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Whether you need to schedule a preventative tune-up or emergency air conditioner repair, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has you covered. We are focused on providing complete and efficient maintenance, repairs and installations to fulfill all your cooling needs. For reliable AC services in your area, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
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