The Importance of Proper AC Maintenance
Keeping up with yearly maintenance on your central air conditioning system is as important as yearly maintenance on your hot air furnace. Just like your car needs a regular oil change, tire rotation and tune-up, there are working components in your air conditioning system that need to be serviced in order to avoid premature failure.
Even if it has been a few years since your last maintenance check, it is never too late to get a health report for your air conditioning system and find out what you can do to help improve its performance.
A well-maintained air conditioning system is an energy-efficient, money-saving system that minimizes the possibility of insufficient cooling or, worse, system failure (which always seems to occur during the hottest weather). The chief benefits of a well-maintained air conditioning system are a more comfortable home, fewer or no repair calls and lower utility bills.
In order to get the maximum life out of your system you should:
- Ensure proper airflow and inspect ductwork
- Clean or change your air filters
- Inspect moving parts and other AC components
- Use proper refrigerant
- Consult a professional cooling system specialist for regular maintenance checks
Airflow and Ductwork
Proper airflow is key to keeping all the rooms in your home at a comfortable temperature while also keeping your energy bills as low as possible. Insufficient airflow wastes energy, causing higher utility bills, as well as wasted time and money trying to resolve a problem that shouldn’t occur if the system is regularly maintained.
To ensure proper airflow, once a year you need to:
- Ensure your ductwork is properly sized. Properly sized ductwork is essential to ductwork airflow efficiency. Does your AC system have trouble cooling your home correctly? Are your utility bills inordinately high? If yes, chances are your ductwork wasn’t sized properly and might require modification.
- Inspect your ductwork. Inspecting doesn’t mean cleaning, which may only be required if you haven’t performed regular preventative maintenance in the first place. Rather inspecting means looking for potential leaks and sealing them. Leaking ductwork can bring in unwanted heat from the outside causing your system to work harder and longer to cool your house.
Central air conditioning is one of the top energy consumers in most homes, so ensuring the efficiency of your air conditioning system can yield big improvements in energy efficiency. A leaky duct system can reduce your climate control system’s efficiency 20 to 30 percent. These leaks also bring unwanted dust, unconditioned outdoor air and humidity into your living space. It also takes money straight out of your wallet.
If your home is over seven years old, have your ducts professionally tested by one of our certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) technicians via an energy audit. If needed, we can do a thorough and effective cleaning, repair or even replace leaky ductwork.
Clean or Change Air Filters
The AC air filter captures dust and particulate matter and filters the air distributed throughout your house so you and your family members can breathe easier.
If your filter is clogged with dirt and debris, your air conditioner has to work harder to push and pull air through the filter. A harder working air conditioning system is a more expensive and less energy efficient air conditioning system. Worst case scenario: sufficiently clogged air filters can restrict airflow to the point where safety switches cause a complete system shutdown.
Air filters should be cleaned and in most cases replaced as part of a regular preventative maintenance routine. How often depends on a number of factors, including the manufacturer’s recommendations, the type of filtration and whether or not you have pets. Consult your HVAC (Heating Air Conditioning Ventilation) specialist to determine the appropriate intervals to clean or change your air filters.
Inspect AC Moving Parts and Components
- Ensuring proper airflow isn’t just about the unit inside your home. An additional key component is your outside air condensing unit. Anything blocking the area around your outdoor condenser, such as debris or shrubbery around the unit, makes it hard for your condenser to breathe properly. To ensure proper airflow, make sure you keep the area around your outdoor condenser clear. In addition, inspect the coils themselves and remove any collected debris. The following should be done by an HVAC Professional:
Inspect all moving parts as part of a regular maintenance routine to ensure everything is in proper working order. Electrical parts such as capacitors should be tested to make certain there are no signs of imminent failure and that they are functioning as they should.
Vacuum the fins of the air conditioning unit and/or clean with a soft-bristle brush. Realign bent or crushed fins with gentle pressure. It’s important to be careful how this is done; the fins are fragile and are easily bent or crushed.
Check the condensation drain tube to remove any clogs. Condensation from the air conditioning coils contains bacteria that can form slime that clogs the tube. If you see water puddling around the furnace when the air conditioning is running, you probably have a clogged condensation drain tube.
If the refrigerant in your air conditioning system is R-22, replace it with R-410A system. They have drop in replacement refrigeration for R-22 but it is highly not recommended by equipment manufacture and it may void any existing warranty. Replacement of R-22 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (which also banned importation and production of R-22) because it is an ozone depleting substance.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this. R-22 costs about five times more than R-410A. Purchasing a new R-410A System will come at a higher upfront cost.. The trade-off is your system runs more efficiently, which reduces your energy bills. And you are contributing to a cleaner environment that isn’t destroying the ozone layer.
Benefits of AC Maintenance—Comfortable Living with Energy Efficiency
A well-maintained air conditioning system is more efficient because it is not working as hard to pull air through the coils. A system that is working efficiently does not incur sudden drops in temperature. Temperature should drop slowly so that the furniture, walls and ceiling in the space release their heat.
When the system reaches the desired temperature it stays off longer because the items in the space are now able to absorb heat before the air temperature changes. This makes the space more comfortable. A system working optimally also keeps the humidity low because the air is moving slow enough across the evaporator coil to remove all excess humidity.
On top of improved efficiency, a well-maintained air conditioning system is much less likely to break when you least want it to—on the hottest days of a sweltering summer. A well-maintained and efficient air conditioning system also means lower energy expenditures and lower utility bills.
The Benefits of Ongaro and Sons maintenance
Ongaro and Sons’ expert service advisors inspect and maintain your AC system to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and comfort. Ongaro and Sons technicians are trained for all residential makes and models of forced air and air conditioning repair. Our fully stocked trucks have replacement parts on hand for most required repairs, and if we don’t have the part on hand we can get the part quickly so that you’ll be up and running in a very short time.
Ongaro and Sons offers a number of solutions to increase the quality of your indoor air, including everything from a filtration system to a complete home purification system and fresh air exchanger system. We’re a family-owned business so we understand better than anyone the importance of protecting your health and the health of your family.
Contact us with any questions about maintaining your air conditioning system or schedule an appointment. Our experienced technicians can help you with routine maintenance, repairs, and more. Experience our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and the peace of mind that comes with a well-maintained air conditioning system.