The dog days of summer are right around the corner, and you want to make sure your AC is in full operating condition. A combination of proper maintenance and proper use are the keys to keeping your air conditioner running, no matter how hot it gets outside.
Reduce the Load
Too much stress on an AC can cause mechanical problems. You can lighten the load by making your home easier to keep cool. If you have ceiling fans, then make sure you are using them and that you are using them correctly. Most fans have a switch on the base that changes the fan direction. Flip the switch so that the blades move counterclockwise, which will push cool air downward so it continues to circulate. Further, close windows and doors and keep drapes closed during the hottest parts of the day. The less your home heats up, the less your AC has to work.
Clean the AC
A dirty AC can't draw in and circulate air well. This causes the unit to work harder, which stresses components and can lead to a premature breakdown. A dirty AC is also more prone to overheating or icing up, both situations that will leave you sweating when the temperatures soar. A thorough cleaning by an AC technician at the onset of summer can prevent problems. Not only will the filter need to be changed, but the tech will also clean out the main unit. Leaves and other debris can collect inside the outside unit, and dust and dirt can coat the condenser coils. By making sure everything is clean, air flows through the unit and your home is kept cooler. Keep in mind that you will also need to change the air filter every one to two months for the rest of the cooling season.
Check Refrigerant Levels
Your AC has refrigerant flowing through it within an enclosed system. Ideally, the refrigerant should never need to be topped off. Unfortunately, leaks in refrigerant lines can occur. When they do, your AC will become less efficient. This means it will work harder and may still be unable to cool your home as desired. If the coils on the unit are freezing up, the air isn't as cool as usual, or the coils keep freezing, you may have a refrigerant leak. An AC maintenance tech can check for a leak and fix the problem, if necessary.
Contact an AC maintenance service for help when it comes to ensuring your AC is ready for the hottest months.