Summer can be a rough place for you if your air conditioner is not running effectively. But there is a lot you can do to help the situation. From closing your windows and cleaning your AC to calling a professional to inspect your AC regularly, you can keep your AC running well.
When your conditioner is running optimally, you will lower the energy consumption and save money on your utility bills. Ultimately, a well-maintained air conditioning unit helps prolong the lifespan of the unit.
Understand Your AC’s Anatomy
Before we get into the maintenance tips, it’s imperative to understand how the air conditioning unit works to understand what needs attention and when. Here are some of the standard components that make up the most AC units.
Inside the AC, there is a set of coiling pipes that contain refrigerant. Refrigerant is a liquid with a low boiling point that changes from liquid to gas as it collects and expels heat from the room. The set of pipes is called the evaporator coil.
Hot air from inside is pumped into the conditioner by a fan located on the inside compartment of the air conditioner. The fan blows the hot air over the evaporator coils.
The refrigerant in the evaporator coil changes the state from a liquid into gas while absorbing the air’s heat. Concurrently the fan located in the outside part of AC pushes the hot air outside.
The refrigerant is pumped from the inside component to another set of coiling pipes (the condenser coil). A condenser fan then blows over the coil, making the refrigerant release its heat and change into a liquid.
Inside the AC is a pump called a compressor. The compressor pushes the refrigerant back and forth and regulates the movement rate so that refrigeration and condensation happen within the right coil.
Now let’s see the kind of maintenance to keep your AC unit functioning properly:
1. Set the Right Temperature
As a general rule of thumb, your conditioner can keep your indoor temperature about 20 degrees cooler than the outdoors. That means that on a day that’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit (F), your AC might not be able to keep your temperature below 80 degrees F. Setting your thermostat below 80 degrees F will strain your AC, making it work harder and less efficiently. The AC unit runs the risk of wearing out faster if it overworks.
It is best to get a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperatures to different situations automatically. For instance, you can set the thermostat to adjust to high temperatures when you are away and cooler temperatures when you are at home.
2. Changing the Filters
You should replace the filter in the air conditioning unit at least twice a year before the heating season begins and before the cooling season begins. If you live in a dusty area, you will want to replace the filter more often. Make sure that you replace the filter with one that has the same airflow rating. Filters with lower airflow ratings might cause the indoor coil freeze, causing failure of your AC unit.
The more you replace the filters, the better. Your AC will filter more efficiently, keeping your air intake pure and your home smelling fresh.
3. Clean Your Outdoor Condenser
The condenser unit is located on the outside component of your AC. The unit contains a compressor, cooling tubes, and a fan.
Since it is located on the outside, its exposed to elements throughout the year. If your AC is not cooling appropriately, the condenser unit likely needs some cleaning. Leaves, dust, grass, and other debris can get trapped in the fins, which will obstruct its cooling performance.
If you have planters around the condensers, you will want to clear them off the AC, placing them at least two feet away. By moving them away, you will optimize air movement within the condenser unit. To get started with cleaning, ensure you turn the condenser off.
Clean the fins with a soft brush vacuum cleaner and be careful not to bend the fins by being too rough. If the fins are bent, brush them back into shape using a knife. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual for instructions that are specific to your unit.
4. Check Your Refrigerant Levels
The amount of refrigerant in your AC is referred to as the AC’s charge. This is the optimal level of the refrigerant for the AC to perform efficiently. If there is a leak, the AC will not function properly, and your home will not get the cooling it needs.
It is not a good idea to attempt handling the coolants of your AC. Contact professionals if you suspect any anomaly with your AC’s coolant levels.
5. Maximize Your A/C’s Effectiveness
While it may seem a good idea to open your windows during summer for fresh air movement, opening the windows when the AC is running will make the unit work overtime. Keep your blinds closed to trap the cool air inside during the day.
Additionally, you should ensure that your home is well insulated and there are no air leaks. Attics are major victims of leaks, and if you find some, use spray or batt insulation to block the holes off. Air leaks will make your AC work harder than it would normally need to while stopping the leaks will keep your utility bills low and will ensure your AC conditioner’s longevity.
It is also a good idea to have your fans running simultaneously as your AC to keep cool air circulating more freely. This practice will keep your AC working optimally without overworking.
6. Don’t Close Off Your Rooms
Airflow is a crucial factor in cooling our home. The best way to keep proper airflow is by ensuring that none of the rooms are closed off during the hot season. If you want to maintain some level of privacy, keep your doors gapped rather than fully closed.
7. Update Your System
If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, you might consider getting a new one. Most HVAC systems have energy efficiency standards that have been put in place by regulatory agencies. Look for the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) in your AC. Your AC’s SEER should be at least 13 and no lower than 8. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is.
Besides, you should buy a unit that matches your climatic conditions. If you live in a humid area, you will want to purchase an AC unit with a humidifier. On the other hand, if you live in a hot and dry area, you should find one that suits the hot temperatures.
8. Get an AC Conditioning Checkup Annually
It is crucial to keep up on its essential maintenance to keep your AC running smoothly. While it is possible to check some things by yourself, it is best to find a professional who can check the unit for you. Be sure the professional looks at the following:
- Inspecting and cleaning the cooling coils
- Replacing the fans if necessary
- Checking refrigerant levels and pressures
- Cleaning or replacing filters
- Lubricating motors and bearing
- Cleaning fans and blowers
- Checking temperature controls
Need Assistance With Your AC Unit?
Keeping your AC unit running optimally can seem like a hard task. If you have any questions about making your AC run efficiently, contact us at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical for immediate services in Glendale, AZ. We are proud to have qualified experts who will make sure that you understand your AC’s needs and will patiently answer your questions and ensure that your AC gets the right tune-up. We also offer a full line of heating and cooling services, as well as plumbing and electrical work.