Air Conditioner Maintenance 101: What Can You Do On Your Own?

Air Conditioner Maintenance 101: What Can You Do On Your Own?

Air conditioning systems are among the most common household units today. If someone wants to keep their AC units in perfect shape, they should not overwork them. Whether it is a single-room AC or a unit for the entire house, it’s advisable to repair and maintain it to enjoy the cooling effect. As a complex unit, an air conditioner comprises several components that work together to produce quality results. Performing periodic maintenance may prevent unnecessarily expensive repairs in the future.

DIY Maintenance Tips

Every AC system owner should invest in professional inspection services, preferably from a reputable technician. Doing thorough inspections at least once a year may help the owner enjoy the unit’s entire lifespan. Below are crucial DIY HVAC maintenance tips that will help homeowners.

  • Turn off the power. Working around electrical appliances can be dangerous. AC system owners should not joke around the movable parts of an air conditioner. Turning off the power on the external compressor will be a prudent idea. Also, switch off power on the outer shut-off box and at the breaker box.
  • Remove debris from the condenser coils and evaporator areas. When trash and grime accumulate on these essential parts of a system, they cause unnecessary tension on the unit’s mechanical components. A screwdriver comes in handy when loosening the bolts on the fan grill.
  • Evaluate the refrigerant levels. When the refrigerant level is incorrect, the system overworks. Reading the manual may give the system owners an idea of what the actual readings should be. An overworked unit reduces inefficiency and boosts longevity.
  • Grease the movable parts. Lubing may not be necessary for all air conditioners. New models do not require lubing. However, the older models’ compressors and fan motors need periodical lubrication.
  • Check air filters for cleaning. Filters can trap dirt, which, when not cleaned, can affect the machine’s efficiency. Blocked filters limit airflow to the appliance, leaving the motor running with no results to show. In such a case, the homeowner will pay hefty bills for low-quality indoor air and minimal heating.
  • Look out for bent fins. At times all that one should do is to use their eyes. Bent fins might tamper with the efficiency of an AC system. In such a situation, using a fin-straightening device may be helpful.
  • Trim the surrounding shrubbery. Some people plant some plants around their air conditioners. While it may help to obscure the appliance from view, it shouldn’t obstruct its functioning.
  • Assess your ductwork for open spaces. An air conditioner may not effectively keep the air cool when the doors and windows lack proper sealing. The owner can tell when there is a problem with the seal. If more cool air escapes through open spaces, the appliance tries to produce more, and so it overworks.
  • Regulate the thermostat. When away from home, one should adjust their thermostat to have a higher temperature reading. Doing this promotes a longer lifespan and may lower one’s monthly utility bills.
  • Turn on the power. When done with preventive maintenance, one should put the power back on immediately. Please leave it to go through a complete cycle and observe how the appliance behaves after that. In case it does not perform like it used to, it may be time to involve the professionals.

How to Troubleshoot for Repairs

Even with regular maintenance, your AC system may still malfunction. It is normal to experience it because there is no way to prevent the system’s wear and tear. There is a tricky bit about repairing AC systems that an ordinary person cannot handle. It would be prudent for every AC owner to know when it is time to delegate to the experts. As suggested by Alco HVAC in Fredericksburg, here are some concerns that may require the intervention of the experts;

  • When the AC pad is sinking. As time advances, the concrete pads below the heat exchanger and AC tend to settle. Professional plumbers may evaluate the depth to which the pads have sunk. If they don’t strain the electrical lines and copper coolant tubes, there will not be much effect. However, if it drops further, it may cause tension on the lines, necessitating professional intercession.
  • When it is an electrical issue. The complex interconnection of motors, tubes, and wires is not for everyone. When one suspects they have an electrical fault, it would be wise if they contacted the professionals. In case of improper wiring, the complicated circuits can easily trigger shots.
  • If the owner cannot diagnose the problem. It’s imprudent and risky to attempt handling a system whose issue one does not know. Where would one even start checking? Most likely, in such a case, one would aggravate the situation.
  • When the compressor starts going on and off. Mostly, compressors operate from a central cooling area. If a compressor is to be on and off, like every 15 minutes, it will strain the system excessively. There could be several triggers, which you may never identify quickly.

The Importance of Investing in Maintenance Services

One may ask about the essence of conducting maintenance regularly, yet the experts do an extensive checkup yearly. First, AC systems’ internal calibrations are affected by external factors. The simple checkups may come with benefits such as;

  • Reduced repair costs
  • Reasonable utility bills
  • Prevention of total system failure
  • Safer functioning of the system
  • The system serves the befitting lifespan

Whether an individual involves the experts or not, the truth is that they have a crucial role to play in maintaining the AC system. Although preventive maintenance may not appear necessary, it saves the situation a lot. When an HVAC professional comes over, one can ask them questions on simple maintenance tips. It would be reasonable if they taught you firsthand maintenance tips. They may have to caution you on the safety measures to observe.