Air Conditioning Maintenance
No one wants to walk in to their house on a hot summer day only to find out that your air conditioner is broken. In my experience, the lifespan of an AC unit is largely dependent on how you maintain it. Summer is slowly coming to end and this is a great time to think about how your AC is running. Here are some tips to help maintain it.
* Sign up with a Worry-Free type service. Your gas company, like PSE&G, will likely offer it. You pay a little extra per month and if there is an issue, they come and help you with it.
* Each season, test out your AC unit before it gets too hot outside. If you notice an issue and need repair work or "worry-free type" service, call early! If you wait for that first hot day to turn it and realize it doesn't work it can take a long time to get a repair or replacement done since this is when AC companies are inundated with calls leaving you sweating uncomfortably for a days or weeks.
* Have a professional check your system periodically.
* Keep an eye on the refrigerant level.
* Oil the blower motor and fan on both the condensing and the evaporation units annually.
* Keep the condensing-unit pan free of bugs, leaves and dirt.
* Check the tension on the condensing and evaporation unit blower fan belts each spring.
* Inspect the blower ducts and joints for leaks and insulation slippage annually.
* Clean or replace air filters in both window (monthly) and central units (quarterly).
* Clean window units completely each year. Oil the blower motor and fan.
* Check the joint between the window frame and the unit to be sure it is properly caulked and weather-stripped annually.
* Keep the blower motor fan blade free of mold and mildew.
* Set your a/c fan speed on high except in when it’s humid.
* Use a whole-house attic fan. Not everyone has one, but if you do - learn how to use it. I love ours - especially when we come home from vacation. We use the whole-house fan and within minutes our house is much more comfortable until the AC gets back to normal.
* Don't crank your thermostat as low as it can go when you turn on your air conditioner.
* Set the thermostat high as comfortably possible in summer.
* Don't put electronic equipment near the thermostat. It senses heat, which causes the a/c to run too long.
Having a central AC unit can really raise the value of your home which is why it's important to protect it and save yourself from the high cost of repeat replacements. These are great tips, especially for someone handy. Be careful though and remember, if you are not experienced then your best bet is to find a reliable service pro. That's why I love the tip for a worry-free contract and/or periodic professional checks. This way you protect your investment.