After buying a home and a car, a heating and cooling (HVAC) system is the third most expensive purchase many Americans make in their lifetime. Your air conditioner is just one part of your heating and cooling system, but it can be costly to repair if used improperly and neglected.
Just like any machinery, air conditioners need maintenance, and they have a limited lifespan. Here’s what you need to know about taking care of yours and eventually replacing it.
1. Changing the air filter matters a lot more than you think.
Out of all the complex components that make up your air conditioning system, the air filter might seem insignificant. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The air filter prevents dust, dirt, dander, hair, and other debris from getting inside of your air conditioner. Without the air filter in place, all these particles would quickly accumulate on your AC’s components and negatively affect its efficiency. What’s more, they would circulate through your indoor air.
While you do want to make sure your AC has an air filter in place at all times, you don’t want to keep the same air filter in too long. When an air filter becomes clogged with dust, this blocks airflow into your AC.
When your AC doesn’t get adequate airflow, you can end up with the following problems:
- Your system will struggle to cool your home.
- Your AC’s efficiency will go down while your energy bills go up.
- Your system can overheat from the strain of having to work harder.
- Parts may break down and fail altogether.
Replace or clean your AC’s air filter according to the manufacturer’s directions. Typically, disposable air filters last for up to 90 days. However, keep in mind that you may need to change your filter sooner if:
- You own pets.
- Someone in your household smokes.
- You’ve recently moved a lot of items in or out of storage (kicking up a lot of dust).
- Your home recently went through remodeling or renovations.
2. Preventative maintenance can help prevent small repairs from turning into big, expensive ones.
According to the Department of Energy, an air conditioner’s components need routine maintenance for the system to operate as efficiently as possible throughout its lifespan. Furthermore, putting off maintenance will ensure that your air conditioner’s performance goes steadily downhill over time, while its energy use goes up.
Like most HVAC experts, we recommend that you get your air conditioner tuned up once a year, right before you intend to use it a lot. For many people, the perfect time for a tune-up is during spring. While testing, cleaning, and servicing the equipment, the technician will have an opportunity to spot any potential problems with your system and point them out to you. This gives you the opportunity to address those problems before they become larger, pricier issues that cause a system failure.
3. If you know your AC is just about ready to retire, start looking for a replacement during spring.
Most people try to put off replacing their air conditioner as long as possible—and that can put you in quite a lurch if your AC breaks down in the middle of summer. Summer is the busiest time of year for HVAC repair and replacement companies, so at times, especially during heat waves, technicians may be fully booked for the next several days.
If you already know your AC is on its way out, it pays to start looking for a replacement before peak cooling season arrives. This way, you won’t have to feel rushed, and you can start saving money on your energy bills as soon as the new unit is in place. Some businesses and manufacturers even offer springtime rebates that you can take advantage of.
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When you need air conditioning maintenance, repairs, or installations in the greater Atlanta area or in western North Carolina, turn to the experts at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC. Call (770) 268-2422 now or contact us online!