Tips For Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
As winter comes to an end and temperatures start to rise, it is a good time to start thinking about getting ready for summer. If you have an air conditioner in your home, this is the ideal time to get it tuned up and ready to go for the heat of the summer season.
Window or Portable Air Conditioners
Start by making sure that the filter is clean. Remove the filter from the air conditioner and inspect it. Vacuum off any dust, dirt, or debris that has accumulated. If you have a washable filter, wash it in warm water to remove any stuck-on debris. Allow it to dry thoroughly before putting it back in the machine. If you spot any kind of filter damage, you will need to replace it. To ensure that you get the right kind of filter, consider taking the original one with you to the store so you can compare the size and type. If the store doesn’t carry the exact model that you need, you may have to custom design your own filter by cutting a larger piece of filter material down to size.The coils on the air conditioner can also trap dirt and debris. Use a vacuum to remove anything that has become stuck inside them. Be gentle so that you don’t cause any damage to the metal fins. If any of the fins are bent, consider purchasing a fin comb to straighten them out. Finish by taking the cover off of the air conditioner and blowing any dirt or debris out of the coils using compressed air.To maximize efficiency, install the air conditioner in a spot that gets a lot of shade. The US Department of Energy reports an approximate 10% increase in efficiency when air conditioners are located in shady areas. Additionally, seal the area around the air conditioner with weather stripping so that air can’t get in or out around it. Finally, make sure that it is secured in place so that a would-be thief can’t remove it to gain access to your home.
Central Air Conditioners
If your home has central air, your best bet is to leave all of the maintenance work to a professional. They can take care of everything from replacing the air filters to cleaning the coils and the compartment that houses the blower. They can also test the refrigerant level and make sure that the unit is not leaking. Additionally, they can inspect it for any mechanical problems. Throughout the cooling season, regularly check and replace any filters that have become dirty or damaged.To improve efficiency, make sure that the duct work leading away from your air conditioner is insulated. This can reduce energy loss by as much as 40%. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your air conditioner as the season goes along. Make sure that no shrubs or trees come in contact with the unit. Additionally, perform regular maintenance to remove dirt and debris from the coils and filter. Periodically inspect the drain pipe to make sure that it is not clogged.To cut your utility expenses, consider installing a programmable thermostat in your home. Additionally, try using a ceiling fan to create a more comfortable space without having to run your air conditioner as often.
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