There’s practically nothing worse than dealing with a broken air conditioner in the middle of a heatwave. The first signs of an imminent breakdown may be discreet—unusual noises, odd smells or decreased cooling. Before you know it, these minor issues grow into full-blown malfunctions. However, with a small amount of forethought and routine maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running effortlessly. Here are 10 tricks to prevent AC issues this summer.
One basic yet effective tip is to check the air filter every 30 days and replace it when it gets dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter promotes smooth airflow, improves indoor air quality and improves air conditioning efficiency. A plugged or dirty filter, on the other hand, forces your AC to work overtime, which could cause breakdowns.
The outside AC unit needs adequate space to intake and exhaust air easily. Regularly check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or twigs. Then, prune any vegetation growing within 12 inches of the unit. These steps can prevent AC problems and encourage optimal performance.
Air conditioning doesn’t simply cool the air—it also removes unwanted humidity. This moisture is collected in the condensate drain pan and then moves down the drain line. These two things can get obstructed over time, causing leaks and possible water damage. Periodically check the drain pan and line for clogs to avert these AC issues.
Your air conditioner typically runs with a soft, constant hum. If you hear abnormal grinding, screeching or hissing, you can bet something’s not right. Similarly, if you notice odd electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can be a sign of various AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and must be addressed quickly.
While closing vents in vacant rooms may seem wise, doing so makes pressure imbalances and decreases system efficiency. To prevent air conditioning problems, keep at least 80 percent of your return and supply vents open and free of obstruction by furniture, rugs and curtains.
Programmable thermostats are intuitive devices that boost your AC’s operation and minimize problems. Once you program your preferred schedule, you can sit back and relax while your thermostat does the heavy lifting. Smart models are even more effective, allowing you to check and adjust your home’s temperature when you aren’t home or even control the settings with your voice.
AC efficiency doesn’t merely involve the unit’s mechanics. Proper insulation is also crucial for maintaining a comfortable interior, blocking warm air from seeping in and cold air leaking out. The attic is the best place to add insulation to an existing home, so look inside the hatch to find out if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If not, you may want to add more insulation to enjoy noticeable energy savings and prevent straining your AC.
Turning on the oven, stove or clothes dryer at the hottest time of the day considerably increases your AC unit’s workload. When you can, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to minimize unnecessary AC activity. When preparing dinner in the summer, give consideration to reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating uncooked meals like sandwiches and salads, or barbecuing outside on the backyard grill.
While a ceiling fan can’t replace an air conditioning system, it can definitely work in conjunction with it. Ceiling fans produce a wind chill effect that makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This extra comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, lowering the workload on your air conditioner and potentially staving off AC problems. Just remember to power down the fan when you exit the area. That’s because the wind chill effect cools people, but it doesn’t lower the temperature in the room.
Regular AC tune-ups are a practical measure aimed at identifying and fixing small issues before they intensify into serious problems. An annual check by a qualified HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner for summer, saving you from annoying breakdowns and pricey repairs by ensuring your AC is working efficiently.
Now that you know the top tips to prevent AC problems, you can follow these steps to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Whether you need to schedule a regular tune-up or emergency air conditioning repair, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has you covered. We are dedicated to providing complete and efficient maintenance, repairs and installations to meet all your cooling needs. For reliable AC services in your area, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
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