Central A/C is the world’s greatest luxury when it’s working and the world’s biggest headache when it fails. Air conditioning repairs will often cost you a few hundred dollars when your system stops working, and a new system will run at least $5,000 in most cases.
Although an HVAC system can seem intimidating, there are simple steps you can take to improve its performance and save yourself significant time and money.
As we approach winter, it’s an excellent time to give your AC unit some attention. This article will detail how to service an AC unit so you can keep it working as long as possible.
How to Service an AC Unit
The most important step in taking care of your AC unit is scheduling an annual service call. Having a technician inspect your system and perform a tune-up at least once a year will help you fix potential issues before they turn into expensive problems.
AC unit servicing helps you with long-term problem prevention and better immediate performance, keeping your house safer and more comfortable while reducing your energy bills. When you schedule an AC service call, your technician will perform several maintenance tasks, including:
- Cleaning evaporator coils
- Checking and tightening electrical connections
- Lubricating and tightening moving parts
- Inspecting and replacing belts
- Replacing filters
- Inspecting refrigerant lines and air leaks
- Checking thermostat operation
An inspection is inexpensive, but you can save yourself even more money by doing some DIY AC unit servicing in-between visits.
Change Air Filters
One of the most critical maintenance chores is also one of the easiest. Cleaning or replacing dirty air filters can make your system up to 15% more energy efficient. You put less stress on your AC unit, and you reduce its cycle time, helping you save on your utility bills.
Filters should be cleaned or changed every 30-90 days or whenever they’re dirty. You may find filters located behind return grates in the wall, ceiling, or floor. It could also be in a compartment near the air handler at the main HVAC unit in the house.
Clean Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit releases heat into the outside air as an important step in the cooling process. When it gets covered or gunked up, it gets insulated and can’t expel heat as easily, making your system work harder to cool your house. With some cleaning and minor repairs, you can optimize the heat exchange process.
Power down the outdoor unit before doing any work on it by turning it off at the main breaker. At the condenser, flip the power switch off.
Clear any brush, leaves, and twigs that build up around the condenser, giving the unit at least 18″ of clear space on all sides. Next, remove the fan cover and unscrew the fan. Use a cloth to wipe down any dust or grime on the fan, and lubricate the motor according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the fan is out, clear any debris that got into the unit. Moving to the small fins around the unit, use a stiff bristle brush to clean any stuck-on dirt. Spraying from the inside out, use a garden hose to rinse the coils and let them dry before reassembling the covers.
Don’t Wait on A/C Service
Along with following these AC unit servicing tips, you should check on your indoor and outdoor units weekly to find opportunities for cleaning or service. Visually inspect your lines and components, and follow up with a service tech if you are concerned about leaks or other hazards.
Knowing when to call a technician is just as important as knowing how to service an AC unit. If you hear any strange sounds or see any concerning HVAC issues, our team at Bowersox Air Conditioning & Heating is ready to help. Contact us today for service repair questions or to schedule your annual inspection and tune-up.