An air conditioner plays a very important role in many homes. That’s why you should always ensure that it functions properly. Unfortunately, some homeowners only remember to check their air conditioners when summer or winter set in.
The first step in maintaining your AC unit is to understand its parts and how they function. The coils, fins, and filters are crucial in the normal functioning of an air conditioner. As such they should frequently be checked and repaired if necessary.
Ignoring regular maintenance of an AC will gradually reduce its efficiency and lead to an increase in energy bills. Below are the different parts of an air conditioner unit and the importance of regularly maintaining them:
Filters are important when it comes to increasing the efficiency of an air conditioning system. However, this is only possible when if you regularly clean and replace your filters. Filters that are dirty and clogged inhibit normal airflow and reduces efficiency.
When the normal flow of air is blocked, the air passing through the filter can directly carry dirt into the evaporator coil and affect the coil’s absorption capacity. Experts believe that replacing your dirty and clogged filter can lower the energy consumption of an air conditioner by five to 15 percent.
The AC’s condenser coil and evaporator coil gather dirt for months and years. When the filter is clean, it protects the evaporator coil from getting soiled easily. But as time goes by, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. The only way to avoid this problem is to regularly check your evaporator and clean it.
The aluminium fins found on the condenser and evaporator coils can easily be bent and block airflow in the process. Most air conditioner manufactures sell something known as a “fin comb” meant to comb the fins close to their original shape.
What you should know about AC repair and maintenance
Not all AC repair and maintenance tasks will require a technician. There are some things homeowners can do on their own to improve the efficiency and performance of their units. However, all technical issues should be left to a qualified and licensed professional.
Here are tips for AC repair and maintenance:
1. Check your thermostat
This is one of the easiest tasks as far as air conditioner maintenance is concerned. It is important to frequently check the thermostat to ensure that it is operating normally.
In case you are using an old model thermostat, then it will be a good idea to purchase a smart and programmable one.
A smart thermostat gives you an opportunity to set higher temperatures when there is nobody at home. Besides, it can start to cool the house a few hours before people return back to the house.
2. Clean the outside part of the AC unit
With time, leaves, dirt, and grass accumulate around the AC unit. Although this may not appear as a bid deal, it has the potential of decreasing the capacity of your system performance and minimizes airflow. That’s the reason why cleaning the AC from outside is crucial.
Start by switching off the unit. This can be done at the service disconnection of the outdoor unit or even the main breaker panel in your home. You can then take a garden hose to remove the debris. Avoid using a power washer as it can damage the AC unit.
3. Replace or clean air filters
As mentioned earlier, replacing or cleaning air filters is one of the most important maintenance tasks of an air conditioner. It is supposed to be done at least once a month during summer and winter. If you are not sure where to find the air filter, then you can contact a trained technician to assist you.
The best way to avoid common issues with your AC is to invest in high-quality air filters. This is because cheap fiberglass filters can’t capture tiny particles such as pollen, viruses, and bacteria. You are also supposed to change them every 30 days.
But high-quality filters are able to capture even the tiniest particles – based on the MERV rating. MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. If the MERV rating of your filter is high, then it means it can capture more airborne pollutants.
4. Check components and wiring
The internal connections in an air conditioner are vital for its operation. Failing to check these connections and components could significantly affect the efficient functioning of the unit. Opening and trying to repair the AC unit on your own can be dangerous unless you are a trained technician.
It is safer to contact a local AC repair and maintenance company to help you with any repairs that involve internal connections. This is something that should be done at least once a year or when you experience an electrical issue.
5. Check the fan of the condenser unit
The air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home properly if the fan blades of the condenser are in poor condition. You should check them often to see if they are in good shape or not. Turn off the air conditioner unit and see if the fan placed on top of the condenser is still intact.
If there are any visible cracks on one or more blades, then arrange how to replace the blade. You can buy fan blades online or from any accredited air conditioner dealer. However, do not purchase the blades until you are sure they can fit your condenser unit.
Some online stores will give you a list of compatible blades or will request you to provide the model of your air conditioning unit.
The importance of an air conditioner cannot be overemphasized. It is important to ensure that it is well maintained and repaired for efficiency. This starts by understanding the different parts of your AC unit and performing regular checks on them.
There are many AC repair and maintenance companies that you can always contact if you are faced with an AC issue that appears more technical.