Beating the Heat: The Top AC Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

Maintaining your AC unit is very important if you want to stay cool during the hot summer months. Read on to learn the top AC maintenance tips.

Air conditioner maintenance at home

Air conditioners are machines, and, like all machines, they can’t quite get through life on their own. From time to time, they need human beings to help them along. In other words, they require maintenance.

Do you need help maintaining your air conditioner this year? Wondering what the process entails? Then you’re in the right place.

Here are the top AC maintenance tips you need to know.

Clear the Condenser

Your air conditioner condenser is vital to the functionality of your AC at large. Should it become impaired, your air conditioning system could fail to function entirely. For this reason, you need to keep your condenser clear of debris at all times.

To keep your condenser cleared, you not only need to periodically inspect it for branches, leaves, and other debris, but you must also take preventative measures. In other words, you must remove any objects which exist within close proximity to your condenser. At a minimum, you should keep 5 feet of clearance around your condenser on all sides.

Trim hedges and trees, remove yard furniture. and do everything else that needs to be done in order to provide your condenser with its own space. Failure to do these things could result in condenser impairment, which would result in substantial mechanical repairs.

Straighten the Fins

In order to process external air, air conditioner condensers make use of metal fins. These fins line the exterior of the condenser and appear as thin, squiggly lines.

Unfortunately, over time, due to natural wear and tear, these fins tend to become bent. The more bent and misshapen they become, the harder time their corresponding condenser has of processing air. In short, efficiency reduces.

This is why it’s important for you, as an air conditioner owner, to straighten the fins on your AC condenser every few months. Take a butter knife, run it between the fins, and lightly straighten them.

Make sure not to press the knife too deeply, however. You don’t want to harm the mechanisms which exist on the interior of the condenser.

Scrub the Coils

Also found inside your AC condenser are the condenser and evaporator coils, two entities which are key to your condenser’s operation. Unfortunately, over time, they become subjected to more and more dirt and debris. When this dirt and debris reaches an apex, it has dire negative effects on the coils, reducing the efficiency of the air conditioner at large.

For this reason, you must scrub your condenser and evaporator coils regularly, generally at least twice a year. To do this, make sure to first turn off your AC. Then, once it’s been turned off, remove your condenser cover to expose the coils.

After you’ve found the coils, spray them with coil cleaner. This substance will cause dirt and debris to deteriorate, allowing you to scrub them off with a towel or cloth.

Install a Smart Thermostat

One of the keys to maintaining an air conditioner is to reduce the amount of stress that is put on it. There are plenty of ways to do this, but one of the most modern examples is to install a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat can be programmed to only run your AC when it’s absolutely needed. This is in direct contrast to traditional thermostats, which run at all times until they’re manually shut-off.

With a smart thermostat, you can designate an “on” time, an “off” time, and even alter real-time settings from a remote location. This enables you to reduce unnecessary stress on your air conditioner unit, allowing it to thrive for a longer period of time.

Clean the Ducts

You hate spending money on air conditioning. That’s why you decided that it was time to replace your window AC in the first place.

But if you really hate spending money on AC, you need to understand that your AC unit alone isn’t the only component of your AC system that needs to be maintained. The ducts connected to your AC need to be maintained as well.

Over time, these ducts suck in tremendous amounts of dust and debris. If this dust and debris are left alone, they could seriously hinder the flow of air through your ducts.

For this reason, you need to clean out your ducts every few years or so. Now, this isn’t the easiest of tasks. Because of this, many homeowners opt to have professionals do it for them.

Nonetheless, it is important. By cleaning out your ducts on a regular basis, you allow for optimal airflow. When air flows through your ducts optimally, the efficiency of your AC unit is optimized as well.

When efficiency is at its peak, energy usage is at its minimum. The result of all of this? Cheaper energy costs.

Check for Leaks

One last maintenance measure you need to take when performing upkeep on your AC is to check for leaks. Leaks have the potential to occur under the refrigerant line, as this line is used to carry refrigerant from the AC condenser to the interior AC unit.

Refrigerant leaks usually occur due to physical trauma (ie. a branch falling from a distance and piercing the line’s exterior). Unfortunately, if they occur, the AC unit will lose functionality as a whole.

This is why you need to check for leaks periodically. Ensuring that leaks don’t exist is like ensuring that your AC unit is still operating as intended.

Come across a pierced refrigerant line? You’re advised to call in your local HVAC technician.

Make AC Maintenance a Priority

If you want to get the most out of your air conditioner, AC maintenance is not optional; It’s a necessity and it needs to be made a priority. To optimize your AC, make sure that you’re utilizing the tips above on a regular basis.

Looking for more home improvement tips? Small Design Ideas is the place to be. We have tips on everything from kitchen design to bathroom design to bedroom design and more.

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