How to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer Heat

One of the most significant factors that will impact your home's energy costs throughout the summer months is your cooling system. When an air conditioner has been properly maintained, it can operate with peak efficiency, and this can result in a drastic reduction in cooling costs as well as the decreased likelihood that you will have to endure downtime and repair bills throughout the summer season. There are a few steps that you can take now that will help you to better maintain your home's air conditioner. By implementing these tips today, you may enjoy lower energy bills with improved efficiency throughout the summer season and beyond.

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Change the Air Filters on a Regular Basis

If your system uses disposable air filters, it is important that you change these out at least once a month. Dirty air filters will block the flow of air as it passes from your HVAC unit, and this can cause the system to work harder to force the air through the filter than it otherwise would need to. It also can lead to a reduced life span for your system and increased repair bills over time. Ideally, the filter will be replaced before you see visible signs of dirt on it. If you have a filter that is reusable, be sure to wash it according to the manufacturer's recommendations on a regular basis.

Clean the Outdoor Unit

Air conditioners have both indoor and outdoor units, and outdoor units, which are also known as condensers, can easily get dirty with regular exposure to the elements. Take a moment to inspect your condenser unit on a regular basis to look for signs of plant growth creeping up around and into the unit. Also, look for grass clippings and other elements that may eventually work their way into the system and cause inefficiency in its operation. If you choose to clean the HVAC unit on your own, always turn off the thermostat before working on the condenser to prevent damage to the unit and injury to yourself.

Schedule Duct Cleaning Service

The air ducts are responsible for carrying climate controlled air through your walls and ceilings to bring cool air to the rooms of your home. They can easily accumulate matter that ranges from dust and pet dander to bacteria, mold spores and more. When these become clogged, the airflow cannot pass efficiently through the ducts, and this creates inefficiency with the HVAC unit itself. Generally, a professional will need to clean the ducts for you, and this should be done every year or two for the best results. The professional can also determine if you have leaks in your air ducts, which also may cause inefficiency and unnecessary energy loss, and he or she can repair the leaks for you.

Replace Fan Belts When Needed

Fan belts are located on the condense unit on the exterior of the home, and they often require cleaning, maintenance, adjustment or a full replacement. This is a simple enough project for some homeowners to tackle on their own, but others may feel more comfortable if a licensed HVAC technician completes the work for them.

Schedule Annual Maintenance for Your System

Like other mechanical equipment, such as your car, an HVAC unit requires annual maintenance service for longevity and efficiency. A licensed and insured technician can easily provide annual maintenance for your system that will include cleaning the components, inspecting it for signs of damage and tuning it up where necessary. This is a great way to promote peak efficiency and to reduce repair issues over the summer season.

How to Maintain Your System

As you can see, some of these steps should be taken monthly, such as changing air filters, and others should be taken annually. Others may simply require you to be vigilant and to observe the system periodically. At the start of the summer season, it is wise to go through each of these steps, or to ask a technician to assist you with the ones that you are not comfortable doing on your own. For repeated processes, such as changing air filters, mark your calendar so that you remember to complete these important steps on a regular basis.

Keeping your HVAC unit well-maintained is important if you want to enjoy peak efficiency with lower energy costs and fewer repair bills. These steps can also help you to enjoy improved longevity so that you get the most life out of your system. Now is a great time to begin working on these steps and improving your HVAC system.