How do you keep cool in the summer? For most families, the air conditioner is just about the only thing that keeps hot, humid summers bearable. It’s great to have a pool or a lake-side cottage you can retreat to, but the AC unit is essential.
Performing year-round air conditioner maintenance makes sure that your AC unit is up and running when that first heat wave sweeps through. The last you want is to be caught off guard without a working central ac system while you and your family sweat through the heat.
Year-round maintenance also makes sure your central ac system is running efficiently. Air conditioning can use a lot of energy – a central air conditioner can use on average 3000 to 5000 watts per hour, and the average homeowner will use their AC for 9 hours a day throughout the warmer months. You can use an energy use calculator to figure out your exact energy use for air conditioning (to account for climate and energy costs), but the average homeowner spends nearly $400 a year on air conditioning. Keeping your AC running efficiently will put money back into your pocket every month.
Not every homeowner knows what they should be doing to make sure their central ac system is running smoothly. Check out this guide on home AC units to find out more details about AC maintenance, but here’s a quick look at some of the things you can be doing in both summer and winter.
1. Cleaning Ducts & Vents
Dirty and debris-filled ducts and vents are the leading cause of central ac system and furnace breakdowns. All that dirt will increase the wear and tear that your central AC system goes through, as well as make its energy consumption less efficient.
Not only will cleaning ducts and vents improve your central ac system, it’s also maintenance that your furnace needs as well.
2. Remove Debris from the Condenser Unit
The condenser unit is the part of your central AC system outside. It exhausts the hot and humid air you want out of your house so cool air has its effect. Before removing debris from the condenser unit, make sure you cut the power both at the unit and at the breaker.
Then you can remove the fan cage and clean the fins to get all the dust and debris out. Since it’s an outside piece of hardware, there can be a lot of grime, including leaves. You may want to use a garden hose at a gentle stream, since too much pressure can damage the fins.
3. Clean Around the Condenser
Make sure the area around the condenser is also clean. Rake up leaves, trim branches and vegetation, and pull out any growing weeds. You should have at least 2 feet of clearance around the condenser. Debris and moisture can cause corrosion or even allow rodents to build nests inside. If mice get into your condenser unit, they can chew up wires and cost you a lot of money. In the winter, it’s a good idea to cover the condenser unit with plastic or plywood.
Keeping your central AC system cared for in all seasons will make sure it runs smoothly and without any issues when you need it.