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Air Conditioning Maintenance Tricks You Can Do Yourself
Not many chores tend to pay off as much as cleaning your air conditioning unit does. Did you know that a dirty or a clogged air filter can increase your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%, according to energy.gov? Imagine how much money you might be wasting by not cleaning your AC on a regular basis!
A properly maintained AC unit will not only cost you less but operate better and be safer for both you and the environment. It will also last much longer before you need to replace it.
However, while you can do most of these tasks on your own, there are still some tasks best left to a professional with proper license and training. Learn more about the importance of choosing a reputable HVAC contractor here: http://www.hughesairco.com/how-to-choose-the-right-hvac-contractor/
In this article, we are going to give you a few useful maintenance tricks most homeowners can tackle on their own. However, if you feel uncomfortable or insecure in your skills at any time, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Always mind the safety precautions and always cut the power supply to the unit before doing anything else.
Cleaning and Replacing Air Filters
Cleaning the air filters and replacing them when they’ve served their purpose are the two primary AC maintenance tips. You should do this every month during summer and winter when the AC is used the most, and at least once every three months during spring and fall.
The filter is usually located behind the return air grille on the walls or ceilings, inside the blower or on the side of the unit. As the filter collects dirt, dust, and allergens the air flow to your home is cut, and your air becomes contaminated with all sorts of dangerous particles.
Inspecting the Components and Wiring
Like we mentioned before, always cut the power to the air conditioner before you start doing anything. This is particularly the case for this part of the maintenance process. After you’ve cut the power, remove the access panel from the condenser unit and look for signs of overheating. This usually includes melted isolation and burnt wires.
While you’re at it, make sure all the connections are tight with an electrical test meter if you have one. Look at the contactor switch and consider replacing if necessary. If you find any of these issues but don’t feel safe replacing the wires or other components, call in professional service.
Consider Replacing the Thermostat
One of the most important components of the air conditioning system is the thermostat. It makes sure your AC is working properly and keeping your home at the desired temperature. However, if your thermostat is an older, mechanical model, perhaps you should consider switching to a programmable one.
A programmable thermostat lets you set the temperature to your liking. You can even program the AC o turn on at a precise time, for example just before you return home from work. A programmable thermostat can also help you save a lot of money, as the AC unit won’t waste precious energy while no one is at home.
Check the Condenser Unit Fan
Check the fan on the top of the outdoor condenser unit to make sure there’s nothing preventing it from operating properly. If the blades became damaged, chipped or cracked replace the fan with a new one. With older AC units, these fans also have to be regularly oiled.
Clean the Outdoor Unit
As time passes, dirt, grass, dust and other debris tend to pile up on the outdoor unit. This may result in the system operating at a reduced capacity and with limited air flow. To clean the outside unit, gently wash all the debris with a garden hose. Never use a power washer, as it can bend or damage the fragile fins on the coil. Also, make sure you trim any shrubs or plants around the unit to keep the air flow unrestricted.