Ultimate Air Conditioner Maintenance Guide
How To Keep Your Air Conditioner Running All Summer Long
It’s no surprise that when you take the time to maintain any machine, it will last longer and work better. For example, think about your car. Car companies recommend routine service and maintenance in order for you to get the most out of your machine. You’ve invested thousands of dollars to purchase it; it just makes sense to maintain it. Although we don’t always view it in this way, the same holds true for your air conditioner.
This guide will help you understand why AC manufacturer recommendations are important. It also provides step-by-step videos showing you how to do many things yourself if you wish. Whether you want to do it yourself or have a technician perform the maintenance, Any Hour Services tries to help you understand your system so it can be healthy and efficient.
- START WITH THE BASICS
- IS YOUR AC RUNNING 100%?
- MAXIMIZE AIRFLOW
- MINIMIZE BREAKDOWNS
- EXTRAS THAT CAN EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR AC
- REGULAR DEALER MAINTENANCE
START WITH THE BASICS
Before diving into more advanced maintenance, there are some basic things that we need to check. Sometimes we overlook these things, not realizing how important they are because of how insignificant they seem. Here is a quick checklist:
⃞ Make sure you have a clean air filter
⃞ Make sure nothing is obstructing the outside unit
⃞ Make sure all the vents in the house are open
⃞ Make sure return air vents are not blocked
⃞ If a room has a vent in it, leave the door open
⃞ Make sure you have fresh batteries in your thermostat
⃞ Make sure your thermostat is programmed
This video shows how to do a basic system check that will help your air conditioner run the way it was designed to.
IS YOUR AIR CONDITIONER RUNNING AT 100%?
If you’ve checked off the basics, you’re ready to assess whether your air conditioner is working the way it should or not. When you go to the doctor, one of the first things they will do is take your temperature to see if it is normal. If your temperature is too far from normal, the doctor knows something is wrong.
Similarly, an air conditioner has a “normal” temperature. If it is out of range, you can be pretty sure something is not working the way it should. All you need is a probe-style thermometer and knowledge of which side of your furnace intakes the return air and which side provides the supply ductwork.
MEASURE & SUBTRACT
⃞ Make sure your AC has been running for 15 to 20 minutes
⃞ At your furnace, identify the supply and return ductwork
⃞ Measure and record the return temperature
⃞ Measure and record the supply temperature
⃞ Subtract the supply temperature from the return temperature
18° - 22° IS MAGIC
The difference in your return and supply temperatures should be between 18° - 22°. Technicians refer to this measurement as “Delta T” or “Temperature Split”. It is one of the first things they will measure when checking out a system.
This video explains more about how to check the temperature split on your air conditioner.
The reason air flow is so important is that your air conditioner can only remove heat from your home by circulating the air across coils with refrigerant flowing through them. These coils can be found in both the inside unit and the outside unit. Refrigerant is flowing through the coils and either removes heat from the air in the home or transfers the heat to the air outside.
Dirt is one of the most common things that restrict the flow of air in your system. Dirt leads to dirty filters and dirty coils. You probably already know how to change your filter but you may not have known to check for dirty coils.
INSIDE - EVAPORATOR COIL
⃞ Locate evaporator coil
⃞ Inspect the coil, is it dirty
If the evaporator coil is dirty, it is best to have it cleaned. If you want to attempt to clean it yourself, this video will show you how.
OUTSIDE - CONDENSING COIL
⃞ Make sure nothing is blocking the outside, condensing unit, like bushes or shrubs
⃞ If the coil is dirty take the time to clean it
How dirty the outside coil is will determine how extensive this cleaning needs to be. This video will show you how to perform a basic cleaning or a deep clean.
MINIMIZE UNEXPECTED BREAKDOWNS
Over time, parts will fail and need to be replaced. However, one of the worst things about breakdowns is that they seem to happen at unexpected, inconvenient times. If you knew when a part was going to fail, you would probably be proactive and replace it before it broke at a time that was more convenient for you.
One of the most common parts to fail on your air conditioner is the capacitor. The good news is that it doesn’t usually fail all of a sudden; it will weaken as it starts to go bad. If you know how to test it and interpret the results, you can tell if it is starting to go bad. Here are the steps to take.
⃞ Locate your capacitor (outside unit)
⃞ Test the capacitance
⃞ If it is out of range, replace it
This video will walk you through how to test your air conditioner’s capacitor and determine if it is performing in the range it needs to. All you need is a meter that tests capacitance.
If you find you need to replace your capacitor, this video will walk you through how to order the right one as well as how to replace your old one.
EXTRAS THAT CAN EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR AIR CONDITIONER
Below, we list two add-ons that could reduce wear on your air conditioner. Your AC will function without these two items but having them installed on your system just might give you a few more years of use and protect your home from surges.
The motor in the compressor outside pulls a lot of electricity when it starts up. That is what puts the most stress on the motor. A hard start kit helps minimize the amount of time the compressor is under maximum load, therefore helping it last longer.
If you are comfortable tackling small electrical projects yourself, this video will show you step by step how to install a hard start kit on your air conditioner.
Every time your air conditioner turns on and off, it can send surges through your home’s electrical system. Installing a surge protector at the air conditioner helps safely reroute surges your air conditioner generates through your grounding system rather than through your appliances and electronics.
This video shows you how to install a surge protector at your AC disconnect, if you are up to doing a project like this yourself.
REGULAR DEALER MAINTENANCE
If you look in the owner’s manual for your HVAC system, there should be a maintenance section. In the maintenance section, you will probably find something that sounds like this: “In addition to the maintenance you perform yourself, you should have your system inspected regularly by a properly trained technician.”
There are some things that you need specialty tools in order to check. Meters and gauges can be more than a homeowner wants to invest in for a weekend project. Most HVAC companies offer an annual maintenance or an annual tune-up that includes all the manufacturer's recommended maintenance and inspection items.
This link will tell you more about this service, answer common questions, and even show you a day in the life of an HVAC Tune-Up Technician at Any Hour Services. You can even save money on this annual maintenance.
Taking the time to give your air conditioner a little attention each year will minimize the chances of experiencing an unplanned breakdown. It will also help you get the most from your system. Summers are meant to be a time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. We hope this helps keep your home a comfortable sanctuary all summer long.
If you know anyone that could benefit from this information, please share it with them.
If you ever need help maintaining, repairing, or replacing your air conditioner, Any Hour Services is here to help.
Other helpful articles:
- How an AC Works
- The Benefits of a High-Efficiency AC
- Why Turn on Your AC Before You Need It
- Improving Your Air Quality
- Reasons to Replace Your Furnace & AC at the Same Time
Copyright © 2021 by Any Hour Services
Jul 31st 2021