Why Should I Have Air Conditioning Maintenance? Every year I get calls from customers asking, “Why should I have maintenance checks performed on my air conditioner?” Sometimes, they have gone years without having a maintenance checkup with no bad consequences. Let me share with you some thoughts from a Department of Energy article on why you should have your air conditioner checked on an annual basis.
Why Should I Have Air Conditioning Maintenance?
AIR CONDITIONER FILTERS
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.
Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. So they are available in a variety of types and costs. Clean or replace your air conditioning system’s filter or filters every month during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.
AIR CONDITIONER COILS
The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil. This reduces its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty. Look for this if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a “fin comb” that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.
Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.
WINDOW SEALS FOR ROOM AIR CONDITIONERS
At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame. You want to ensure it makes contact with the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.
HIRING A PROFESSIONAL
When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional service technician. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.
The technician should:
- Check for correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
We are offering spring maintenance special. For $49.99, you can get the complete maintenance you need for your family summer air conditioning system. Give us a call to make an air conditioner maintenance appointment, 952-746-5200.