Nothing beats the heat like a quality air conditioner. As long as you schedule your annual maintenance, you can expect your AC unit to last 15-20 years. However, several factors can cause undue wear and tear on your system, requiring you to replace it sooner than you expected.
The good thing is that there are some things you can do to prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner. Here are some tips to help you lengthen your AC.
Ensure Return Air Ducts are Unobstructed and Sized Properly
Make sure your return air ducts are free and sized appropriately. Your return air ducts pull in air from the rooms in your home and send it back to the air conditioner to be filtered, cooled, and redistributed.
If your return air ducts are too small or blocked by furniture or other items, you won’t get the proper amount of air returning to the unit. This leads to overworking the system and consequently reduced efficiency and early AC failure.
Close the Registers in Unused Rooms
You probably know that it’s good for your air conditioner to cut off the airflow to unused rooms. This reduces the cooling load and saves energy, too. Fewer rooms to cool extend the life of your air conditioner and save money.
But did you know that you can also save money by reducing the work of your air conditioner? During the winter, close the registers in empty rooms.
Your home’s total area will determine how many registers are necessary to provide adequate airflow. A good strategy is to consult with a professional HVAC technician from Direct AC to help you find the right balance.
Clean or Replace the Air Filter Regularly
This should be done monthly or even more often if you have pets or use them heavily. Dirty filters increase energy consumption and reduce efficiency.
A clean filter keeps your compressor and condenser coils from getting clogged, which means your system has to work less complicated, ultimately saving you money on energy bills.
You only need around five minutes, even less, to completely replace the air filter. Just make sure to turn off the power of your unit before you start.
Clean the Ducts
Air gets circulated throughout a house via ducts which play a crucial part in keeping the air conditioner unit well-oiled. If the ducts aren’t clean and well-maintained, your air conditioner won’t work efficiently, which means higher energy bills.
As always, prevention is better than cure. The best thing you can do is to properly and regularly maintain your ducts so they’ll remain functional at all times.
“Regular” refers to around every six months or so if you live in an area with a lot of pollen and other allergens. If you live somewhere where dust is less prevalent, then once a year will suffice.
Check for Leaks
Leaks can affect the performance of your air conditioning unit and cause it not to last longer. You’ll need a set of tools, a few minutes of your time, and some knowledge on how to do the check.
Start by turning off the engine and then turning on the AC at high speed. Check that all vents are open, and then let the AC run for about 3 minutes. This is enough time for the pressure to stabilize in the system.
After this, you will want to connect your gauge set into the low-side service port, usually located near the compressor unit or somewhere on the field pipe. The low-side service port has a spring-loaded valve, so you will want to press it down with your thumb and then push in the hose fitting using your other hand until it locks into place.
Some systems use Schrader valves that require more effort to push in, but once locked into a place, they won’t leak refrigerant when disconnected from the hose fitting.
Get Professional Service Twice a Year
A professional service covers a comprehensive check-up of the outdoor unit, changing filters, cleaning of the indoor unit, and other maintenance tasks needed to ensure the machine’s smooth operation.
Air conditioning maintenance can do wonders for an air conditioner’s lifespan, efficiency, and performance. By getting your air conditioner serviced twice a year, you can keep your unit running at full strength through the hottest days of summer.
During the hot summer months, your air conditioning unit has to work extra hard to keep your home cool, which can lead to regular wear and tear. To ensure your system is working properly throughout the year, schedule a professional service appointment twice a year. You’d want to schedule these visits during spring and fall because they happen before the weather becomes too hot or cold.
A qualified technician will clean the coils and drain lines during these visits, check for refrigerant leaks, lubricate moving parts, inspect electrical connections, and more.
If there are any potential problems, they will handle them before they become major difficulties.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
The other step in ensuring your air conditioner lasts a long time is using the right thermostat setting. If you want to control your cooling system with a thermostat, you should use a programmable version so you can easily adjust the temperature to fit your needs.
Keep in mind that the longer your HVAC system runs, the more energy it consumes. A programmable thermostat is also handy since you can set different temperatures at different times during the day.
Whether you have a portable or central air conditioner, you can do something to make it last longer. While numerous factors contribute to an air conditioner’s early breakdown, there are steps you can take to keep your air conditioner functioning for many more years.
You can make your AC last through the hottest months of the year by following the above few simple steps. Some of these steps require only about five minutes and will save you money by extending the life of your AC unit.