Regular maintenance of your air conditioner helps prolong its lifespan, but it also plays an essential role in preserving the health of your pets and your family. Extensive maintenance is also crucial to reducing the amount you get to spend on costly repairs in any given year.
While it’s generally recommended that you use professional services, there are times when you may need to pop the hood and check how everything is fairing. Take a look at the top 5 tips to assist you in maintaining your HVAC system.
Change the Air Filter
On average, the air filter should be replaced every 90 days by HVAC contractors, if possible. Replacing a filter is among the most basic things a homeowner can do to guarantee the unit will continue operating optimally. However, you have to keep in mind a few rules of thumb before you get going:
- For a normal home without pets and/or kids: replace every 3 months
- A residence with kids and/or pets: replace every 2 to 3 months
- A house with both pets and kids: replace every 1 to 2 months
So how do you know it’s time to replace the filter? If the filter removed from the air conditioning unit is placed close to the light and no light goes through it, then it’s time to change it. You should also change it if it has dander, dust, or dirt.
Common factors affecting the duration you need to wait before making a replacement will include the number of times the residence is used and whether the residents have allergies. In case any of its occupants suffer from allergic reactions, ensure it gets changed more often. You may need to change it as often as every fifteen days.
For a house you don’t regularly use, i.e., which isn’t a primary residence, you could leave it in place for as long as half a year or even longer.
Flush the Drain Line
Water will slowly start to build up inside the air handler unit when it’s being used. This comes about due to condensation. The condensed water is then funnelled using a line leaving your house before being dumped outside. As time passes by, mold and algae can start to build up, which will ultimately clog the line needed to dump the condensed water.
It’s, however, possible for you to ensure this won’t happen in your home. All you have to do is:
- Check the air conditioner to determine where the handler is located. Often, it’s installed in attic space or closet. Having found it, closely examine it until you find a PVC pipe heading outside. This is the drain line, which has to be drained once a year during spring.
- Grab a measuring cup and create a mixture using half hot water and half bleach. Switch off the air unit and slowly pour your mixture into the draining line. You can then turn the unit on. Repeat this once each year to ensure the line will not become clogged.
- Use a Garden Hose to Rinse the Condenser
How clean the outdoor unit is will greatly affect how the entire system continues to run. When the condenser unit in the air conditioner is dirty, it gets to decrease its efficiency by more than 30%. With time, more work will need to be done on the home’s air conditioning unit causing the repair costs to accumulate exponentially.
As is the case with the drain line, the outdoor unit will also require yearly maintenance. Make sure to get this done when debris and dirt start to accumulate, thereby clogging your unit. If possible, don’t wait for too long to try to save yourself time and costs down the road.
The outdoor unit requires simple maintenance tasks. Clear debris, sticks, and leaves away from the air conditioner. While this is an easy task, take care not to damage any of the numerous wires and/or pipes coming and going from the unit.
Grab the garden hose and run it along the entire length of your home unit. This exercise will assist in knocking down any dander, dirt, pet hair, and leaves that had collected on it. Consider doing this during the fall season when the leaves have fallen from the trees.
Keep in mind that when an air conditioning unit is running efficiently, you get to save big on your energy bills.
Install a Modern Programmable Thermostat
While you are probably wondering why you would want to start spending on a new thermostat, the answer is simple—energy savings! Modern temperatures have proven to be more reliable and accurate at regulating room temperature and in providing minute by minute details. Their reliability is attributed to their use of varied information.
A mechanical thermostat isn’t always accurate when it comes to providing you with the temperatures you want. Depending on the metal used in its manufacture, the resulting temperature may vary by up to 5 degrees.
Digital thermostats are a good choice due to their inclusion of the SMART home option. Such thermostats get to detect your preferred cooling and heating behaviors and provide recommendations on how to save on energy usage.
Take Note of Operational Changes
A change in your air conditioning unit’s operations are often indications of problems that will arise in the coming days. Keep track of any inconsistencies in the operations of the unit. The changes aren’t always subtle, as some will openly manifest themselves. Take this as a warning sign of looming issues.
Consider keeping an eye out for issues such as:
- Odors from the vents
- A sudden change in the noise levels from the air conditioning system
- The unit suddenly cutting on and off often
- The handler producing water
- Failure to maintain the temperature you have set on the thermostat
These are some of the issues commonly overlooked by homeowners and property managers and which often leads to costly repairs. Be sure to check the system if you notice any of the above issues. It’s always best to fix them early before things become messy.