In our hot Wisconsin summers, AC is a necessity. If your AC suddenly stops working, or begins working improperly, it can be more than a nuisance. Regular servicing keeps your AC running well all season long. So just what does regular servicing mean? Generally, you should have your air conditioner serviced twice yearly: once in the fall and once in the spring. Those are times the professionals should come out; in between, there’s plenty you can do yourself to keep your AC in good shape. In this post, we’ll go over what an AC Servicing includes, and what you can do yourself.
What Does AC Service Include?
Fully trained and certified experts will inspect the whole AC system, from the blower to the condenser to the ductwork. Any damage or deterioration of parts will be noted and if necessary, repaired. HVAC specialists, like those at Quality Heating, use special tools to measure electricity and airflow levels. Refrigerant levels will be checked, too. All components will be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated. Your AC technician will also take a look at your thermostat to evaluate its accuracy and whether it’s communicating well with your AC unit. If necessary, it will be recalibrated or reprogrammed. The condensate drain should be a place of particular attention. Clogs are common in the spring and fall because ACs typically aren’t running as often; it’s easy for mold and gunk to build up.
What Should I Do In Between?
Maintenance of your AC system throughout the summer will keep it working at peak efficiency. That will lower your electricity bills and keep you and your family comfortable. There are some simple things you can do to accomplish this.
Air conditioners and furnaces take in all sorts of dust and dirt that naturally floats in the air. As such, to reduce the amount of residue they take in, they’re equipped with HVAC filters. These filters stop residue in its tracks but the filters get absolutely inundated with it in the process. The filters need to be changed on a regular basis. You should change your HVAC filter at least every 3 months; if you have cats or dogs in your home, you should do it once a month. Your HVAC filter could be located in your return air vents or it could be located within your furnace. If you’re not sure, your HVAC technician would be happy to show you where they are. If you have a media filter, they should be replaced every 9 to 12 months; this filter is located inside your ductwork next to your furnace or air handler.
Your Condenser Area
Your AC’s condenser is located outside of your home. As such, it’s exposed to falling branches, kicked-up stones and dirt, bushes, and all sorts of overgrowth. In rare cases, overhanging greenery can fall into condensers, causing jams and general mechanical damage. Then there’s the havoc that creatures cause. Squirrels, mice, and even ants and other insects can chew on the electrical wirings or are attracted by the water. It can be hazardous to them and they can damage your outside unit. Professional servicing will deal with any damage, but you help prevent it by keeping the area around your condenser clear of plant life and debris, and checking for evidence of chewing. Five feet of clearance on each of its sides (and ensuring that any trees or hedges in its proximity are properly trimmed) will also make it less attractive to critters.
Your Condensate Drain
When condensate drains are running at full speed during a hot spell, they are constantly removing water in the air; but when they are turned on less often, it means that your condensate drain can start to accumulate algae, mold, and gunk. It builds up faster than you might think, and a clogged drain means a water problem! A simple way to keep your drain clear is to pour a cup of plain vinegar down it periodically. If you find it difficult to remember, talk to your HVAC technician at your servicing; they have some longer-lasting solutions to prevent these clogs.
Your Vent Covers
AC systems use a duct system to distribute the air that comes out of vents in the different rooms—on walls, ceilings, or floor. Keep an eye on your vent covers for any build up of mold. Excess humidity leads to mold, and you’ll want to take care of that immediately. Mold can cause those sensitive to it to become quite sick. If you’re not sure what to look for, ask one of the professionals at Quality Heating.
Having your AC serviced twice a year by professionals, combined with performing simple maintenance yourself will keep your AC at peak efficiency and minimize the possibility that you and your family will be stuck sweltering during a hot spell.