Essential AC Maintenance Tips You Need to Know
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Posted March 26, 2021
The furnace that you use to heat your home is likely designed to last for somewhere between 16 and 20 years. But unfortunately, the central air conditioner that you use to cool your home is probably only designed to last for somewhere between 12 and 15 years. As a result, you’re going to want to do everything in your power to get at least 15 years out of your AC, if not more. It’ll prevent you from having to replace your AC long before your furnace. You can extend your air conditioner’s life by doing AC maintenance on it on a regular basis. Outside of giving your AC more life, doing routine air conditioner maintenance will also cut down on the amount of AC repairs that you have to do over the years.
Take a look at these AC maintenance tips that you should put to good use to give your air conditioner the long life that it deserves.
Stop Leaves, Sticks, and Other Debris From Building Up Around Your AC Unit
You probably aren’t going to need to turn your air conditioner on too often during the fall, winter, and spring months in Tennessee and many of the neighboring states. But that doesn’t mean that the weather outside won’t still take a toll on your AC unit.
Throughout the year, your AC unit is going to get inundated with everything from leaves and sticks to dirt and other debris. It’s going to be your job to sweep these things away from the outside of your AC unit so that they aren’t able to work their way inside of it.
If you let any of these things linger for longer than they should, they’ll eventually wreak havoc on your AC unit and cause issues with your compressor. That could lead to you having to replace your entire air conditioning system sooner than you should have to.
Clean the Fins on Your Air Conditioner’s Compressor Every So Often
In addition to sweeping debris away from the outside of your AC unit every spring, you should also take the time to clean the fins that are on the outside of your AC unit, like the video above shows with your heat pump. These fins play a vital role in the well-being of your air conditioner’s condenser, which is one of the most important parts of your AC system.
Over time, dirt and other gunk can build up inside of the fins in your AC’s compressor and cause lots of problems if you’re not careful. They can prevent your AC system from being able to remove hot air and humidity from your house.
You should get into the habit of wiping away any dirt or other gunk that you find in the fins of your AC unit. You should also spray the fins with a commercial coil cleaner to get them completely clean.
You may also notice that some of the fins on your AC unit will get bent from time to time. You should be able to use a brush to straighten them back out again so that they’re able to do their job.
Make Sure Your AC Unit Isn’t Sinking Into the Ground
The AC unit that sits outside of your home should rest on top of a concrete pad that is in place to hold it steady. That concrete pad should be level, and it should be sitting on top of the ground beneath it, not sinking into it.
It’s not uncommon at all for the concrete pad under an AC unit to begin to sink into the ground over the years, though. When this happens, it can start to put a huge strain on the pipes and wires running from your AC unit into your home.
You should check out the condition of your concrete pad every now and then to make sure it’s not sinking into the ground and bringing your AC unit with it. You should also feel the tension that’s being put on the pipes and wires that go from your AC unit into your house.
If you spot any signs that your AC unit is sinking, you’ll want to rectify the situation right away.
Change the Air Filter in Your Air Conditioning System At Least Once Every 3 Months
The first three AC maintenance tips that we’ve talked about here have had to do with doing home AC maintenance outside of your house. But that’s obviously not the only place where you’re going to have to worry about maintaining your air conditioner.
You’re also going to need to tend to your air conditioner inside your home. And it’ll start with inspecting the air filter found in your home’s AC system at least once every month and replacing it at least once every 3 months, and in some cases, even more often than that.
Additionally, you should always use at least an 8 MERV-rated pleated filter in your HVAC system to get the best performance possible.
Your air filter is in charge of filtering the air in your home so that you can improve the air quality in your home. It’s responsible for filtering things like:
- Pet dander
- Smoke particles
- Other contaminants
You need to replace it about every 3 months since all of these things can start to clog it up and prevent it from doing its job.
Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Evaporator Coil Periodically
One of the most important parts of the portion of your air conditioner on the inside of your home is the evaporator coil. It takes any heat from the air in your home and removes it so that you’re able to cool things off in your house.
You shouldn’t have to worry about doing too much AC maintenance to your evaporator coil over the life of your air conditioner. But it can get pretty dirty over time if you choose not to maintain it at all.
For this reason, you should try and clean your AC’s evaporator coil periodically to stop dirt from building up on it. You can do this by using a soft-bristled brush and some of the same commercial coil cleaner that you use on your AC unit’s fins.
By doing this, you’ll be able to keep your AC system’s evaporator coil functioning like it’s supposed to. It’ll allow your air conditioner to provide your home with a steady supply of cool air.
Keep Your Air Conditioner’s Condensate Drain Line Clear
As long as your home’s air conditioner is working the way it’s supposed to, there will be a lot of condensed moisture that will build up in it. It depends on what’s called a condensate drain line to take that moisture and get rid of it so that it doesn’t cause issues inside of an AC system.
Your AC system’s condensate drain line will, for the most part, stay clear. You shouldn’t have to be too concerned about unclogging it.
But there will be times when the condensate drain line will get clogged up with things like sludge and algae. This will stop it from draining your AC system properly and lead to problems with your air conditioner if you don’t do something about it.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult at all to clear an AC’s condensate drain line. You can do it by trying one of these methods:
- Flushing it with a mixture of bleach and water
- Using a long wire to clear out anything built up inside of it
- Running a wet/dry vacuum near the end of it to clear up any clogs
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your condensate drain line to make sure it’s doing its job. If you ever suspect that it might be clogged up, you should clear it yourself or contact an HVAC expert that specializes in servicing AC systems.
Install a Smart Thermostat to Control Your Air Conditioner
Are you still controlling your home’s air conditioner through the use of an old-school thermostat that has seen better days? You could be putting a huge strain on your AC system and spending more than you should have to on your energy bills every month.
Take down your home’s old thermostat and replace it with a sophisticated smart thermostat. This thermostat will help you control your AC system so much better than your old one.
You’ll be able to control the temperature in your home from anywhere in your house or, better yet, anywhere in the world. You can download an app for your smart thermostat that’ll give you the power to adjust the temperature from wherever you want.
Most smart thermostats will also start to pick up on your tendencies before long and fire up your AC at the right times of the day to cool your house off. They’ll shut your AC down when you’re not home so that it doesn’t waste energy and wear out quicker on you.
Consider Replacing Old Windows, Doors, and Insulation in Your Home
We know what you’re probably thinking right now: “What do my home’s windows, doors, and insulation have to do with AC maintenance?” But hear us out.
The windows and doors that you have scattered throughout your home and the insulation that you have in your walls and attic all play a big part in how often your air conditioner has to run. When these things are all able to keep your home well insulated, your AC system won’t have to stay on all day long to cool your home off.
With this in mind, you should inspect your windows, doors, and insulation every so often to see how effectively they’re insulating your home. If they’re not doing a great job, replacing them or, at the very least, repairing them can benefit your AC system in a big way.
Hire a Home AC Service to Help With Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
You can perform a lot of the basic AC maintenance that needs to be done on your home’s air conditioner on your own if you want. From sweeping around your AC unit to replacing your air filter to putting a smart thermostat into place, you can tackle these types of jobs.
But there are going to be certain forms of home AC maintenance that you don’t feel comfortable taking on yourself. In these cases, you should reach out to a home AC service for help.
If you choose to do this, you’ll just want to be sure you bring the right air conditioner maintenance company on board to lend a hand. They should be very experienced when it comes to servicing AC systems. They should also have these qualities:
Ideally, you should hire an AC maintenance company to visit your home once every year to look over your air conditioning system and to make the necessary adjustments to it. They’ll be able to tell you if there is anything you can do to get more life out of your AC system moving forward.
Need a Hand With AC Maintenance? Call on Us for Assistance Today
Would you like to have an HVAC specialist visit your home to help you with AC maintenance? We can arrange to have this happen at your earliest convenience.
For three decades now, our family-owned and operated business has been supplying homeowners with the best home AC service around. We would love to take a trip out to your home to show you what we’re all about. We’ll help you get as much life as you can out of your AC system.
Contact us for AC maintenance today to get the process started.