During the hottest days of the year, you usually rely on your air conditioner to cool your home. Lack of quality home air conditioning can put you and your family at risk of a heat-related illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illnesses, like heat rash and cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
Keeping your home cool is one way to stay well this hot season. To reduce the risk of dangerous AC breakdowns this summer, follow these easy yet effective maintenance tips:
Maintain a clean air filter.
Air conditioners need clean filters to operate properly. Dirty AC filters restrict the flow of cold air, forcing the system to work harder. Replacing your air filters every 90 days or as often as needed will significantly lower the chances of breakdowns. The Department of Energy says it can also lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 15 percent.
Check for water leaks around the unit.
A water leak around the unit is an obvious sign of a serious AC problem. To prevent the problem from escalating, you should call your AC contractor right away. A clogged condensation drain line usually causes water to leak on and around the system. This could lead to a breakdown unless fixed right away.
Provide at least one foot of clearance on all sides.
Avoid storing household items near your AC indoor unit. Leaves, branches, and other debris that have gathered on your outdoor unit should be removed as well, as it can block the flow of air to and from the system. Regularly cleaning the area around your air conditioner can prevent dirt buildup, which could lead to breakdowns. Industry experts require homeowners to provide at least one foot of clearance on each side of the air conditioner.
Do not skip your regular unit tune-up.
To maintain the good working condition of your air conditioner, make sure to schedule routine AC tune-ups. Early spring would be the perfect time to schedule an appointment. A routine AC tune-up should include the necessary system inspections and basic maintenance tasks to keep your air conditioner in the best shape possible for the hot days ahead. Only hire a qualified technician to service your unit. Working with inexperienced amateurs can void your unit’s manufacturer warranty.
Know when it’s time to replace your AC.
Knowing when it is time to call for a repair or replacement will save you time and money. According to the DOE, the average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 15 to 20 years. If your unit is already decades old, it is time you invest in a new AC installation. Old, inefficient units tend to work harder and consume more energy than they need to operate, leading to high energy bills.
Ask for help from a pro
If you are having a hard time deciding whether it is time to replace your AC or not, do not hesitate to ask for advice from a licensed and skilled contractor. With combined industry expertise and experience, HVAC professionals can best help you when it comes to your specific air conditioning needs at home. Call the pros today!