Air Conditioners are fascinating devices. Life would be unbearable without them. We’re sure you can’t imagine what summer would be like without these much needed cooling systems. However, they require a lot of care and are likely to break down very quickly if not handled with care. Therefore, for you to get the best of your Air Conditioner, and avoid losing lots of money in repairs or even replacement, we have outlined the following points:
- Regular Maintenance
Ordinarily, this should be a no-brainer. However, it is often the little things that trip us up most efficiently. People skip on scheduled maintenance checks for various reasons; some think they present an unnecessary financial drain, and that running regular maintenance is only a way to make technicians and repair contractors rich at their expense, others think it’s just an unnecessary bother. For most of us, however, we forget to carry out maintenance on our air conditioning units since they are working perfectly fine and don’t seem to be giving any problems- until they break down at least.
Whatever your reasons for not having a professional (or a group of professionals) give your AC unit a once over, it is an unsafe practice that may likely cost you a lot in the future. Just like the human body, or a vehicle, or a computer, or any other system that works over time, your AC unit includes a lot of components which are liable to a couple of complications such as getting dirty, breaking down, or even just basic wear and tear. Regular maintenance helps to pre-empt these adverse effects, or at least, correct them while they’re still at the nascent stage before becoming a full-blown problem.
Air filters get clogged up with dust and may require cleaning or change. Coils may get burnt with extensive use, and electrical connections may get severed, burnt out, or loosen up over time. Refrigerant levels may be quite low, and they won’t exactly give you a warning before running out on you (possibly on a sweltering day when you need your air conditioning unit running nicely and flawlessly). All of these possibilities are reasons why you should get a maintenance schedule for your air conditioner.
Funny enough, “regular maintenance” is not as regular as it sounds. Just getting your unit checked once in a year, or if you’re a little more fastidious, biannually, should be enough to keep it chugging along nicely all year without any issues, major repairs, or even if you are lucky, without any minor repairs. If you think you’re likely to forget about scheduling these checks, then you can decide to take a long-term contract with a servicing company to run the maintenance for you. This contract could cover, say five years. The bill they present you with may seem daunting at first, and you are likely to be wondering why you should be paying so much to prevent damages that may never even occur. However, we can assure you that it will be worth the effort because significant repairs on AC units can be such a massive drain on financial resources.
To bring it all together, regular maintenance will do the following for your air conditioner:
- Prevent major or even minor damage.
- Prolong the life-span of your air conditioner. The longer you use it, the more value you get for its purchase cost.
- Save you additional repair costs from breakdowns
- Prevent the embarrassment and discomfort of having your unit stop working at critical periods.
- Dirt is the enemy
While the scheduled maintenance that was previously mentioned is essential to keeping your Air Conditioner in perfect working condition, there’s still a lot you can do on your own. At best, your maintenance crew shows up twice a year, dirt (which includes dust, dead leaves, insects, and many other things) will not wait for your repairer to visit before accumulating. It is therefore highly necessary for you to take action by keeping your unit clean. Cleaning your air conditioner doesn’t exactly have to be an all-out attack where you get your weapons of sponge, brush, soap, water and declare World War III on dirt. Merely dusting off various parts, especially fins and filters, will do.
The vents are another part where dust is likely to cause some damage, wiping them off occasionally will decrease the possibility of contamination and blockage, an added advantage is that free and unclogged vents will reduce unnecessary energy consumption- implying a positive outlook on your electricity bills. Also, be sure to look after the parts of the air conditioning system that are located on the exterior of the building. They are the most vulnerable parts to dirt from various sources. These sources include:
- the wind blows dead leaves
- twigs and other miscellaneous materials carried by birds trying to build their nests
- Dead insects and small pests getting trapped within fins.
These are not good, and are, in fact, unsafe for your air conditioner, and you should try to remove these as often as possible. Also, for the safety of your AC exterior, keep a radius of cleared vegetation around it. If there are no leaves close by, there will undoubtedly be a lower possibility of the wind blowing them towards your AC.
- Air Filters look after your Air Conditioner, Look after them too.
Of all the numerous components present in an air conditioner, the air filters are the most vulnerable to dirt. Just as the name implies, they are there to filter off dust and ensure that clean air only is what gets into your system. If this accumulated removed dirt stacks up this much, your air filter gets clogged up and blocked which is terrible news for your machine, and consequently for you. It, therefore, follows logically that to keep your air conditioning unit safe, your air filters have to be safe too. A cost-effective way would be to try blowing out the dust on the screens as often as say twice or once in a week. However, it’s important to know that dust is way more ubiquitous and persistent for this approach, it is, therefore, advisable that you change your air filters.
You may be wondering why this extra financial burden is necessary, but hear us out. If your air filters are down, your whole Air conditioning system is down; damaged air filters have domino effects such as compressor damage, the entire system itself tripping off, and improper air flow due to blockage by dirt. All of these consequences will cost you way more than it will to replace the air filters only. And what’s more, air filters’ replacement does not require the attention of a professional. It’s something you can do by simple intuition, or at worst, by following the steps in a YouTube DIY video, and even if you’re working at snail speed, you can get all your air filters replaced in 15 minutes flat. This is not too much time to devote to the safety of your air conditioner.
- Keep the condenser cool
Think about it, and life must be quite tricky for air conditioners condensers. While you’re indoors enjoying the cold ambient air supplied by your AC unit, the condenser is out there in the heat, sweltering (if it can), and working round the clock to keep you cool inside. Don’t you think you should be a little more considerate towards condensers? The point we are trying to make here is that while condensers are designed to be outside and handle a particular level of heat, exposing them to too much heat may not be very safe for the condensers themselves and the Air Conditioner as a whole. At best, the excess heat will decrease the efficiency and increase energy consumption. At worst, the excess heat will cause some damage to parts of the condenser leading to a need for repair. This means the height of summer is a particularly dangerous time for your condenser.
All of the above can be avoided by building a sort of small shed to protect your condenser from the direct heat of the sun. Of course, obstructing the top or the sides of your condenser while trying to cover up with a shed is not safe, however, a little covering to reduce the heat intensity will be just perfect.
- Be sure there’s no water accumulation
Accumulated water from within the air conditioner gets evacuated through a rear drain. A blockage of this drain is a cause for alarm because the water is trapped inside the Air Conditioner, and water being water will find a path of escape, therefore, any vents which are supposed to circulate cold air inside becoming drip points from which the water drops. This will increase the humidity of the internal atmosphere within your home or office.