Summertime can be miserable when temperatures soar well beyond what most people consider comfortable. In addition, high humidity levels make the weather seem even hotter than it actually is and make the air feel downright stifling. When the miserable heat and unpleasant stickiness are trapped indoors, they seem to grow worse. Fortunately, air conditioning is now common in homes, so most people have a nice reprieve from the discomfort.
Making Your Air Conditioner Last As Long As Possible
Air conditioners make summertime manageable by drawing heat and humidity out of the air. Some models are designed to last 15 to 20 years or more. However, running strong all summer long can place a great deal of wear and tear on an air conditioner. Sitting idle through the colder months may give it a break, but that downtime can take a toll of its own. With air conditioners being such a sizable investment, most people want to make them last as long as possible. Consider the following tips for AC maintenance to help you get the most out of an air conditioning unit.
1.) Keep the Outside Unit Clear
To work properly, an air conditioning unit needs adequate airflow. Without it, the entire system has to work harder. If the outdoor unit is blocked by shrubs, fallen limbs, dead leaves, and other debris, it can’t get the airflow it needs. Be sure to keep shrubs at least three feet away from the unit, and remove any debris that may be littering the top and sides of the unit.
2.) Keep Indoor Air Vents Clear
Air conditioning systems deliver cool air indoors through vents. If any of those vents are blocked by furniture, rugs, or other items, air won’t be able to flow out of them the way it should. That may not seem like much of a problem on the surface, but it actually creates a couple of major issues. For one, it’ll prevent the air conditioner from keeping your home as cool as it should. Secondly, it could cause an unnecessary buildup of pressure within the air conditioning system. In turn, that will eventually damage the heat exchanger. That’s a component that helps generate cool air.
3.) Keep Air Filters Changed
Keeping the air conditioner’s filters changed is another way to prolong the life of the unit. Those filters remove contaminants from the air and keep them from building up in the air conditioning unit. Over time, though, the filters get clogged with dirt, dust, pet hair and dander, and other particles. Then, they’ll restrict the system’s airflow. Change those filters at least once every three months. If you have pets, consider changing the filters every 45 days or so.
4). Weatherproof Your Home
Weatherproofing your home will extend the life of the air conditioning system. Be sure you have adequate insulation in place. Don’t overlook the attic and crawlspace as those are areas where heat transfer occurs the most. Make sure weather stripping around the doors and windows is in good shape, and fill gaps around baseboards and other areas with caulk. All that will make your home more efficient and prevent the air conditioning system from working harder than it should.
5.) Have Seasonal Maintenance Carried Out
Yet another way to extend the life of an air conditioning unit is to have professional maintenance carried out at least once a year. It’s best to have this done near the end of winter or in the early spring before hot weather returns. Professional HVAC technicians will inspect the air conditioning system, lubricate moving parts, clean the unit, and take other measures to ensure the air conditioner is in good shape. That’ll go a long way toward making the system last as long as possible.
Taking Care of Your Air Conditioning System
Seasonal maintenance is crucial for prolonging the life of an air conditioning system, and it should be performed by a professional. Keeping the outdoor unit and interior vents clean, moving any items away from vents, and changing the air filters as needed are simple measures you can handle between tune-ups. Weatherproofing your home will also keep your family more comfortable while improving your home‘s efficiency and extending the life of the air conditioning and heating systems.