In Southern California, our AC systems work hard most of the year, but especially during the hotter summer months as our temperatures soar higher and higher. In fact, your air conditioner is probably the most in-demand appliance in your home during the summertime. But even though air conditioning units are generally designed to be durable, it is still important to give it the right amount of care and maintenance throughout its service life.
1. Do Not Skip the Annual Tune-Up
Scheduling an annual tune-up is probably the simplest way to keep your air conditioning system in top form. During this tune-up enables we carry out maintenance tasks which are crucial to the performance of the unit. We also inspect the system for problems and detect any issues that may later lead to serious damage or complete AC failure.
2. Change the Air Filters
You are likely already aware of the importance of air filters in the home. Not only do air filters help maintain good indoor air quality, they can affect the performance of your AC system as well. Check your filters for dirt buildup and clean or replace them as needed, typically as often as once a month, to ensure that dust and contaminants do not accumulate and block the airflow in your system. Any blockage can force it to work harder, which can lead to damage and a variety of issues.
3. Clear the Area Around Your Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit of your air conditioning system, which is called the condenser, will need room to breathe in order to operate correctly. For this reason, make sure to cut the grass and trim the shrubbery around it. This also helps make your outdoor unit more accessible for the HVAC contractor who will perform your annual tune-up.
4. Keep Debris out of Your AC
Leaves, branches and other foliage can cause serious damage to your equipment. Because some shrubs flourish at the end of summer, it is important that you remain diligent in clearing away any intrusive plant life. Make sure to keep the flora at least two feet away from your unit at all times, as this will ensure nothing grows into the unit or falls inside. Additionally, be careful when mowing your yard, as grass clogs are among the most common causes of AC obstruction.
5. Make Sure the Vents Are Not Blocked
Make sure these vents are open and free of obstructions so that your air conditioner can effectively maintain a specific pressure load for your home. Blocked vents can ultimately affect the performance of your AC, so this is something you should be wary of.
6. Look Out for Signs of Water Leaks
Take a look at your indoor unit and watch out for signs of water leaks. If you discover leaks on or around your system, call an expert right away. They may need to inspect your drain pan and condensate line.
AC “Survival” Tips For Heat Waves
To get your AC successfully through a heatwave, it is important that you: 1) not put it through any unnecessary strain and 2) prevent electrical overload.
1. Close Your Curtains and Blinds
This will help reduce the temperature in your home so that your AC will not have to work as hard. Roman shades and thermal curtains are particularly effective at blocking heat as well as light. Upgrading to these window treatments before summer hits will not only help out your air conditioner but will also help lower your energy bill.
2. Use Your Ceiling Fans
Ease your system’s workload and utilize every energy-saving technique you can think of! Though ceiling fans do not physically cool the air, they do generate a soothing breeze that creates a cooling sensation. When you run your fans, you can turn your thermostat up 3-4 degrees without feeling a difference. This not only takes the load off of your AC, but it conserves energy and saves you money. However, make sure your fan’s blades are spinning in the correct direction! For a cooling effect, set the fan to turn counter clockwise so it pushes cold air down.
3. Refrain From Using Your Stove Or Oven
The last thing you want is to add more heat to your house when the AC is already working hard to keep it cool. Instead, opt for dishes that require no heat to make, like salads and certain sandwiches. Or use this time to cook or grill outdoors.
4. Turn Off The Lights
Lights give off heat, especially when they are left on for long periods of time. Turn off any lights that are not actively being used to reduce the amount of warmth they contribute, prevent electrical overload, and save on your energy bill.
5. Limit Your Use Of Energy-Hogging Appliances
Keep in mind that certain appliances and electronics (such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and big-screen TVs) consume a lot of energy, as does your air conditioner. During a heatwave, it is always a bad idea to have too many of these appliances consuming energy at the same time. Wait to use these appliances until you have a full load of clothes or dishes and wait until the sun goes down and it is a bit cooler before running additional appliances. To reduce the amount of energy used by your washer and dishwasher, switch to the settings that use no heat.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
While it will not do much for maintaining the system, a programmable thermostat can easily help reduce the load on the system and save you a bunch of money on energy costs! Setting the programmable thermostat to vary the temps just 1-2 degrees during the times you don’t need it, can save hundreds of hours of running time during a long summer.
7. Have an Attic Vent Fan Installed to Vent the Heat from Your Attic Space
The attic space in your home can reach 140-150 degrees on any given summer day. Installing an attic vent fan will vent that hot air from your home and eliminate the warm blanket resting over your ceiling. Solar attic vent fans offer a high-efficiency solution for those who want to save money at the same time. If you already have a vent fan installed, you should make sure to inspect it every year as well, to avoid roof leaks and repairs that could add up quickly!
8. Plant a Shade Bush on the Southwest Side of the Outdoor Condenser
The sun is at its peak heat from 11am-6pm, on the Southwest side of your home. If you have the room, planting a small shade tree or bush 3-5 feet away from the air conditioner will provide shade during the hottest part of the day and allow the system to work more efficiently. Make sure you don’t plant too close and obstruct airflow.
What to Expect During HVAC Maintenance
Here are some things our Technicians will check/perform:
- Settings on the thermostat
- Carbon Dioxide Test (if applicable)
- Test start capabilities of equipment
- Clean condensate drain
- Measure airflow, amps, volts
- Test safety controls
- Measure temperature differences in supply and return air
- Replace any air-filters as needed
- Look for signs of corrosion or damage
- Lubricate components
- Inspect area around equipment
Give Us a Call
One of your worst fears is having to replace the heater or air conditioner in your home. But with due diligence, you can prevent a premature replacement and the associated costs.
If your system needs repair or inspection, call Aire-Tech on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.