Summer heat waves can be tough to handle, especially if you live in an area that is particularly hot and humid. On these types of days, it’s amazing how quickly your home can become a hot, sweaty place when the air conditioning isn’t working. What’s even more amazing is how easily an air conditioning breakdown can be avoided by following some simple preventative steps.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to prevent AC problems and enjoy a cool, refreshing summer.
10 Ways You Can Prevent Air Conditioner Problems Right Now
Air conditioner problems tend to crop up at the start of warm weather—usually sometime during the spring months when you start using your AC again. Spring is actually a great time to start considering the following suggestions so that by the time you get them all checked off, consistently warm weather is likely going to be right around the corner. Air conditioning units are complex pieces of equipment that rely on various elements to function properly. If one area is damaged or malfunctioning, many others won’t be able to work either.
Follow these tips to prevent pesky AC problems and protect your unit.
1. Schedule an Annual Tune-Up
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your air conditioning unit. Tune-ups include essential maintenance work that involves checking your machine for AC problems. This will be very useful later on because your unit will be less likely to run into issues. Getting a professional to check out your AC is a great place to start.
2. Keep the Outside Area Around the Unit Clear
Be sure to keep the area outside your unit clear of debris. Trim the grass and clear away any branches or leaves from the previous seasons. If this isn’t done, it’s highly possible that debris and dirt can build up inside the machine and prevent it from working properly, or working at all.
3. Clean the Inside Unit
The same goes for the inside of the furnace or air handler. Dirt can gather inside just as easily as it can outside. It’s also important to avoid storing things too close to your indoor unit. If it’s too crowded around the area, it will be difficult for a professional to inspect it should an air conditioning breakdown occur.
4. Inspect/Change Filters Every Month
Dirty air filters are a leading cause of malfunctioning air conditioning units. The good news is that it’s the kind of issue that is completely preventable. A dirty filter blocks airflow, forcing your unit to work harder to compensate for the subsequent lack of cool air. An overworked unit can lead to more serious issues, so it’s important that you check and change your air filter as needed throughout the summer months. Most standard 1” thick pleated filters should be checked monthly, and changed every 1-3 months.
5. Check for Water Leaks
This can be done at the same time you’re checking your filter. Just take a quick glance at your furnace or air handler for signs of water leaks. If you spot leaks around your system, we recommend getting in touch with a professional right away to have it taken care of. Leaks can cause big problems.
6. Keep Air Vents Open and Unblocked
Closing off your air vents isn’t a good idea, and it’s not going to save you money. In fact, it can disrupt the air conditioning system quite easily. Your air conditioning unit is designed to handle a certain pressure load for your home. Closing the air vents makes it difficult for the unit to do its job and will cause it to work harder, potentially leading to it shutting down from overexertion. If you are shutting vents to try and direct more air to some rooms and less to others, you may want to consider a variable speed system that can distribute air more evenly throughout the home. You can consider a zoned system to segment your home, although these systems can be problematic if not installed correctly.
7. Take It Easy on Your AC
If you work to help your AC by keeping the air vents open and not having it run too cool for too long, you’ll enjoy a unit that lasts longer and runs more smoothly. Turn on ceiling fans and be smart about your cooling setting, especially during the particularly hot times of the year.
8. Watch Out for Heat in Your Home
You can help your AC unit by doing a few heat-prevention tasks around your house, such as keeping the shades down to prevent heat from coming in through the windows or using heat-generating appliances only in the evening.
9. Know When to Replace Your Unit
If you know how long you’ve had your machine and how old it is, you can be prepared when the time comes to replace it. If your AC unit is old, it’s highly possible it will break down sooner rather than later. They also last longer or shorter depending on where you live. For example, in Utah, the average air conditioning unit lasts about 13-15 years. Getting it replaced on schedule will save you money in repairs in the long run.
10. Call If You Know There’s a Problem
By following these tips, you’ll enjoy a functioning AC unit throughout the summer season. Make it a summer to look forward to with refreshing AC.