How to Keep Your AC Unit Running Smoothly in the Summer

Air conditioning makes hot summer days more bearable. A lot can go wrong with a residential air conditioner, however, if it is not cared for properly. Here are ways to prevent A/C malfunctions this summer.

Check the Air Filter

The filter keeps important components, such as the refrigerant coils and fan motor, cleaner and it keeps your indoor air cleaner. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is forgetting to check and change this filter. Prevent problems like frozen coils and overheating motors by changing the filter whenever it is covered with dust. In some situations, you will need to replace the filter every month although some can last longer. When you are not sure, just err on the safe side and replace it.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

In a central air system, the evaporator coils are usually located in the indoor section. These easily collect house dust and need to be cleaned to maintain efficiency. Refrigerant travels through air conditioner coils and transfers heat during the process. Grime collecting on the coils interferes with this process. Call a professional air conditioner maintenance contractor to clean the coils during the annual A/C maintenance checkup.

Keep the Area around the Outdoor Unit Clean

The outdoor unit contains vital components such as the compressor and the condenser coils. It is important to allow some free space around this so it receives airflow and to avoid it getting too dirty. Dirt, leaves and other yard debris left too close to the unit will more easily end up collecting on condenser coils and other components.

Keep the perimeter clear at least two feet out from the A/C. This means removing leaves and other debris as soon as you spot them. Avoid planting deciduous bushes close by and spread landscape rock or lay concrete down around the A/C slab to keep down dirt and weeds.

Reduce the Cooling Load

Air conditioners are hard workers. There are ways you can reduce their workload, however, and this will keep your home more comfortable in addition to helping to prevent air conditioner break down. To reduce cooling load:

• Weatherproof windows and doors.

• Use thermal window dressings to reduce solar heat in the home.

• Keep windows and doors closed when the air conditioner is running.

• Maintain adequate attic insulation.

• Keep registers unobstructed.

• Repair cracks and holes in ductwork.

An air conditioner that is maintained will last longer and use less energy to keep you cooler. All steps you take to care for your A/C will pay off this summer and in summers to come. You will see the results of your efforts in terms of how much cooler your home feels and in lower bills.