Your air conditioner is your most cherished appliance in the heat of summer. But did you know that even the best quality air conditioners become less efficient at consuming electricity over time? This can be exacerbated by poor or irregular air conditioner maintenance. The buildup of dirt, dust, and grime in a system are preventable, and important if you want to increase the lifespan of your HVAC system. That's because when parts of your air conditioner aren't cleaned regularly, the whole unit has to work harder and use more energy.
Follow these air conditioner tips to save money and get the most from your aircon.
You must schedule an annual service before the heat hits. In the same way, a yearly car tune-up makes your vehicle work more efficiently, an aircon system needs the same attention. Your installer will more than likely offer an annual maintenance service that will keep your air conditioning unit running at optimum energy efficiency and highlight repairs that need to be done to prevent long-term damage or breakdowns.
A service will also include inspection and tightening all electrical connections. Lubricating fans will be check and the system will be cleaned. Your technician will inspect the coolant levels too and look out for more issues like refrigerant leaks.
Change the Air Filter of Your Aircon
Have you ever thought about how your aircon works? It pumps cold air into rooms in your home and then collects old air and moves it back through the system.
The air is then returned to the air handler, but first, it goes through an air filter. The filter captures particles and pollutants that could cause damage to your system or affect your health. Over time the air filter can fill with dust and particles that trigger allergic reactions, and it can become clogged. This can limit the airflow (which you want to move to the handler efficiently), which will put the system under strain and causing it to run less efficiently.
By changing the air filter regularly, you will extend the life of your air conditioner and keep its energy efficiency at peak levels. Ask your technician to check if you’re using the right air filter for your home.
Clean the Return Air Ducts
Apart from the filter, the return air ducts also need to be cleaned as they can become clogged with lint, dust, and dirt. These block airflow and cause your system to work harder. This will reduce the lifespan of your system and affect its efficiency. It’s easy to do. Just vacuum the ducts when you clean the room to make sure there’s enough airflow reaching your HVAC unit.
Check the Pipe Insulation and Ductwork
Insulation is a critical factor when it comes to determining the cooling power of your system. If it's torn or disintegrated insulation, you’re not going to get the comfort you need. Check the insulation covering the coolant pipes every summer. Replace them if needed to keep the air conditioner running efficiently.
The ductwork in new homes can be particularly dirty, as construction debris and dust collects inside them. Another issue is rodents and other pests that can nest in the ducts or leave droppings. When you turn your aircon on fine particles from this debris are pumped into your home. Apart from hampering airflow, this could cause allergies and other health issues with your family. Consider having the ducts cleaned by a professional aircon team to improve indoor air quality and keep your family healthy and safe.
Inspect the Wiring
This is best done by a qualified technician. The reason you need to check the wiring in the condensing unit is to look for signs of overheating or wear. If you choose to do this, you will need to turn off the air-conditioner before you start. Look out for wiring that looks burned or worn out, and then call in a pro to fix it before you use the system again.
Clean the Outside Compressor
If you want to ensure aircon air efficiency, a priority should be ensuring the compressor and condenser coils are kept clean. This is part of an annual service, so you won't have to worry about this yourself.
The reason it’s important is that when the coils get dirty, they struggle to absorb heat effectively. If you suspect they're dirty, look at the fins to see if they are dirty, but be careful as they can bend easily. If you see bent fins, straighten them out using a fine comb. Remove grass, weeds, or old leaves that may have accumulated near your air conditioner over winter. It's incredible how much can get trapped around the unit due to wind. It's advisable to avoid landscaping within a meter of the unit. Don’t store items near the exterior compressor, either. Anything blocking airflow makes the system less energy efficient.