5-Ways To Extend The Life Of Your A/C, Plus Save You From An Unexpected Expenditure!

If you think fixing your AC is expensive, then your don't even want to think about having to replace it. Air Conditioner replacement can be very expensive. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is your best bet to avoiding large unexpected expenditures.

Step-1 Change your filters:

Ounce of PreventionThe "dirty little secret" of the industry is that D.I.R.T. is the #1 cause of breakdowns and repairs. The air in your home contains dust, which is carried by your AC system's airflow into your return grilles, through the return ductwork, back to the air filter, sort of like "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!" It’s crucial to have a clean filter to catch and capture as much dust as possible to prevent nasty build-up on the internal components of your air conditioner, like blowers, motors, coils, etc. Dirt not only poses air quality issues, it also reduces the performance and increases the wear & tear, as well as driving up the energy costs of running your system.

Step-2 Keep your outdoor unit clean:

Overgrown bushes, grass clippings, falling leaves, tree pollen, or even dust & dirt can seriously restrict the airflow through your air conditioner, causing major, big time problems. Restricted or reduced airflow on your outdoor unit causes the system to operate at substatially higher pressures and temperatures, which translate into lower capacity and higher utility bills. Higher pressures from a dirty unit also mean the components of your air conditioner run much, much hotter, to the point of overheating, and breaking down prematurely.

Step-3 Open up and say “Ahhhh”:

Your AC’s capacity and efficiency are directly linked to your indoor airflow. Making sure all your individual room supplies and returns are wide open, and not blocked by furniture is important to proper, efficient operations of your air conditioner. The air pressure in your ductwork is called “static pressure”, and it’s like the blood pressure of your system. Just like your body, high “static pressure” caused by closed/blocked vents or other problems, equals BIG problems. Contrary to popular belief, you cause more bad than good closing off unused rooms, so go ahead and keep them open, your air conditioner will thank you, and so will your wallet. Whatever you think you're saving, you actually end up just giving right back in the form of lost system efficiency.

Step-4 Clean your grilles & registers:

Built-up dust and dirt restricts airflow in/out of your vents, and ends up requiring an AC repair call. With the system turned “off” at your thermostat, simply vacuum the surfaces of your individual return grilles & supply registers. Dust and dirt that sticks to the bars and surfaces of your grilles & registers as air flows through them, restricts them, decreasing the “free area”, and ends up choking off system airflow. Return grilles are especially susceptible to this kind of build-up, because this is where all the airflow is coming back from your home to your air conditioner. Plus, clean grilles and registers are healthier too!

Step-5 Flush your drain:

Your air conditioner removes humidity, in the form of moisture, from your home at your indoor cooling coil. This condensate water must be drained away to prevent flooding or water damage to your home. This drain line and pan have the potential for some real "yucky" stuff, including mold or mildew, so it's important that you keep everything clean and clear. A simple mixture of white household vinegar and warm water can do wonders to flush out any potential debris that may have built up over last season. If you have a “gravity drain”, you can simply use a funnel to pour water into the "clean-out". If you have a “condensate pump” you can either use a funnel or pour the vinegar-water mixture directly into one of the holes in the top of the pump to fill it up and index it on automatically. In either case, be sure to observe how “fast” the drain drains to ensure water is being disposed of quickly. Repeat the process until you get a clean discharge where it exits the building.

A little bit of preventive attention can go a long way in extending the life of your air conditioner, and is cheap insurance against a big unexpected system replacement expenditure. If your AC does malfunction, and your need air conditioning repair, it’s always best to call a certified professional to completely diagnose your system.


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