Like any mechanical system, having your air conditioning system routinely serviced will pay dividends in the long run.
Air Conditioning Filters
Keeping the dust and dirt out is critical to your air conditioning system’s ability to work effectively.
Clean filters allow your air conditioning to run more efficiently, which can save you money on energy bills and help you avoid a costly repairs or replacement. Plus, a clean filter promotes a cleaner living environment by improving your home’s air quality.
You’ll want to replace your air conditioning filters or clean reusable filters at least four times a year and as often as every month during high usage times. Remember, with air conditioning filters you get what you pay for, so make sure that you purchase one that will provide you the most benefits.
There are a number of common filter options available:
- Disposable fiberglass filters are the least expensive—and also the least effective—designed to block only large dust particles. However, smaller particles such as pollen and mold can pass right through.
- Washable “electrostatic” filters have a static charge that attracts dust, dirt and other matter. These filters are slightly more effective than disposable but still do not block the smaller particles.
- Pleated “allergy” filters use a much denser mesh material to trap and eliminate large allergens like pollen and mold—most are 35 to 50% efficient.
- Electronic air cleaners create an ionized electrical field that “magnetizes” pollutant particles, eliminating virtually all pollen and mold spores, up to 94% of smaller particles and up to 80% of airborne viruses.
- HEPA furnace filters are the “gold standard.” These filters are used in commercial applications like hospitals and electronics manufacturing where clean air is vital.
We are sometimes asked, “Is an air conditioning tune up necessary?” Your cooling and heating system is a major investment for your home and your comfort. After years of experience, we strongly recommend having your air conditioning system inspected and preventative maintenance performed each season to keep your system running right all year round.
What’s included in an air conditioning tune-up?
- Inspect coolant levels and pressure—to ensure your system runs at peak efficiency
- Calibrate thermostat(s) and check proper cycle and temperature—to improve comfort and control
- Inspect and tighten wiring, contacts, capacitors and relays—to avoid expensive repairs
- Ensure the evaporator coil is clean
- Ensure the condensate drain is clear
- Inspect and clean the condenser
- Inspect the outdoor disconnect
- Inspect the condenser fan motor and blades; lubricate if needed
- Check compressor amps at startup
- Plus more safety and efficiency checks
Upon completion, your service technician should present an air conditioning Tune-Up Checklist and share any recommendations and potential concerns about your air conditioning system.
Air Conditioning Maintenance
Regular air conditioning maintenance can pay big dividends in improved system performance and reduced energy costs. It can also help to extend the life of your system parts and equipment, as well as help to prevent costly and inconvenient breakdowns.
The easiest way to make sure that your home air conditioning maintenance is done correctly is to have it performed regularly by a qualified air conditioning specialist.
In between professional tune-ups, here are some things that you can do.
- Always be sure to disconnect electricity to the unit before starting any work
- Keep the outside condensing unit clear of leaves, sticks and debris
- With electricity turned off, rinse the compressor using a garden hose
- Change or clean the air conditioning filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Check the fan belt tension and inspect hose connections for leaks and cracks – ars.com