Spring/Summer AC Maintenance Guide
Your air conditioner, like your car, needs periodic maintenance and tune-ups. Maintaining your air conditioner ensures that your unit is running at peak performance and that you are paying lower energy bills in your Bay Area home or business. You could end up saving a lot of money annually considering 50% of the utility bills go into cooling and heating your home. These things should be part of your spring/summer air conditioner maintenance.
Seek Professional Tune-up
While it is a good thing to perform DIY tasks around the house, you may want to consider using a professional for tuning up your air conditioner. Professional maintenance is important at least once a year. It will accomplish a lot of things that you may not be able to do as a homeowner. For instance, trained technicians can clear and clean the condensate drain line, lubricate moving parts, check the refrigerant level, and tighten electrical connections.
Having a professional tune up can offer the following benefits:
- Reduce breakdowns
- Lower energy bills
- Improve indoor comfort and air quality
- Keep manufacturer warranties valid
Replacing the Air Filter
Check the air filter every three months or sooner if you want to keep your air conditioner running at peak performance. You should consider holding the air filter up to light to see if light is passing through. This is the best way to check whether the filter is clean or not. Clean or change the filter immediately if you don’t see light passing through.
You should consider setting phone or calendar reminders to remember that this maintenance task needs to be performed. Dirty air filters starve the air conditioner and makes it work extra hard. By cleaning out the air filters you ensure the HVAC system works as it is supposed to.
Clean Out the Outdoor Condenser Unit
The outdoor unit accumulates dust just like your gutters. Remove twigs and other debris before you start the cooling system during summer or spring. You need to take care to physically remove large debris before using a garden hose to clean the finer particles. Make sure to turn off the air conditioner’s power source before doing this. You should trim away plants and shrubs to at least a 2 feet radius as well.
Seal Air Leaks
Most houses have an efficient air conditioning system. But, they lose air conditioned air through leaks and poor insulation. You can find air leaks by lighting an incense stick or a thin piece of toiler paper and holding it up to windows, doors, and other places where you think there could be a leak. Anywhere the smoke moves erratically requires sealing.
Insulation should be at least 10 inches thick in your attic. It can be 8 inches if you have cellulose insulation. You should consider adding more if the insulation is less since most cooling is lost through the roof. You should consider getting a professional contractor to inspect the insulation.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Consider upgrading your thermostat to a smart thermostat. This will help you keep your air conditioning unit working efficiently. It will also help you keep your energy bills down. However, purchasing and installing it is not enough. You should also know how to use the thermostat.