A spring checkup for your central air conditioner costs far less than replacing a burnt out unit in the heat of July. Preventive maintenance, before the temperature hits 100 degrees, could save you thousands in repairs and saves you hundreds in energy bills. Plus, it’s easier than you think.
Simple things you can do yourself—like changing indoor filters regularly or keeping the outside condenser unit clean—go a long way in keeping your air conditioner running reliably—while eliminating unnecessary service calls.
Other mechanical maintenance—like checking the refrigerant level or the motor voltages—requires an expert trained to work behind the panels of your system. Calling an air conditioning technician who catches a refrigerant leak, early in the season, saves you from having to replace the blown compressor later in mid-summer (when prices are even higher due to demand).
Do the simple things your self and learn what to expect from an expert checkup. Call an air conditioning contractor early in spring and you will be assured the luxury of cool air, instead of sweating the pressures of finding help during the hot and busy season.
Simple Air Conditioning Maintenance You Should Do Yourself
A majority of service calls would be eliminated if more homeowners would change indoor filters and clean the outdoor condenser unit.
Filters in the central air conditioner should be cleaned and/or replaced regularly. Dirty filters block normal airflow and strain the function of the system. They also force toxins into your indoor environment.
As often as necessary, you should clean and rinse debris from the condenser unit. Fragments—from cottonwood fibers to dog hair and insect nests to dryer vent exhaust—clog the unit, keeping it from operating and blowing out hot air.
Before cleaning, always make sure all electrical is turned off—both at the disconnect box for the condenser unit and at the main circuit breaker.
Cut back shrubs, hedges or any landscaping from around the condenser unit.
To clean inside the condenser, remove the top grill, along with the fan, to clear out leaves and other debris, which have accumulated. Use a low-pressure garden hose to clean inside the unit, including condenser coils. Clean all around the outside of the unit also, being careful not to bend the metal fins. Plain water is safest.
Some Services to Expect with An Air Conditioning Maintenance Checkup
Regular maintenance keeps your air conditioner running like new. There are dozens of possible checkup points for your central air conditioning system. Find a reliable contractor and become familiar with some of the most common mechanical fixes.
Check refrigerant/coolant levels. A low level of refrigerant/coolant likely means a leak in your system, which leads to the costliest repair in an air conditioner system—a burned out compressor. Your contractor can fix any leaks and ensure coolant levels are accurate.
Check the condenser unit, from compressor to fan, to ensure there are no problems.
Check all electrical parts and controls to ensure safety and longevity of your system. An air conditioning contractor can measure the voltage and current of motors.
Lubricate moving parts to reduce friction in motors and keep electricity flowing efficiently.
Calibrate thermostat to keep air conditioner from overworking. (You can change thermostat batteries yourself).
Advantages of Early and Regular Air Conditioner Checkups
Make air conditioning maintenance part of your spring ritual. You will:
Probably pay less money for service—since summer is the busiest season for HVAC professionals.
Have more timely, thorough and attentive service.
Increase the chances that your air conditioning technician catches any potential problems before they become big.
Have a more efficient air conditioning system, which uses less energy.
Save on monthly energy bills—since a more efficient system uses less energy.
If your central air system is older or not working reliably, call a professional who specializes in upgrades or energy efficient systems, like ENERGY STAR products approved by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Keep your central air conditioning system clean and call a qualified expert in the spring for a regular checkup. You will save yourself a lot of money, time and sweat.