As fellow residents of Texas, we know how scorching the summer months can be. There’s almost nothing worse than having your air conditioner break down in the middle of a Texas summer. Although you can’t control the heat or humidity in June through September, there are some steps you can take towards preventing a poorly functioning or broken air conditioning system this summer.
Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips
Schedule a Tune-Up
This is probably the best step you can take towards preventing your AC unit from breaking down in the dead of summer. An average air conditioning system runs 3000 hours per year; that’s a lot of wear and tear. An annual tune-up allows a technician to catch little problems before they turn into major complications and a broken system. Plus, tuning and cleaning your system yearly will maximize its efficiency and extend its life.
Schedule an HVAC system tune up with a professional every year, once a year.
Replace the Filter
Dirty or restrictive filters are the most common cause of poorly functioning AC systems. Clogged filters can result in a total system breakdown. Filters typically need to be replaced every two to three months, but usually every month during the summer. This means you need to keep a closer eye on your filters June through September. Besides preventing an HVAC disaster, keeping filters clean and using low density filters have an additional benefit: the Department of Energy estimates that changing AC filters when needed can lower your system’s energy consumption by 5 to 15%! But beware, the more expensive the filter the more restrictive, in many cases “high efficiency” filters create the same consequences as a dirty filter.
Clean the Condenser and Keep the Area Around It Clear
The condenser is the outdoor part of your air conditioner unit, and it plays a major role in ensuring the system is cooling properly. The condenser doesn’t have a filter so when its coil gets dirty your AC can’t cool effectively. If the coil becomes clogged it can cause the condenser to overheat and break down, so schedule a cooling tune up and make sure a thorough cleaning of the condenser is included. It can be done by the “do-it-yourselfer” but make sure the power is turned off. The coil must be cleaned from the inside out so the top of the condenser must be removed.
It is also important to trim any shrubs and plants growing near the condenser and clear away any debris or leaves. There should be a minimum of 2 feet of clearance around the unit so it can function properly.
If you find that your AC is running more than usual or it isn’t keeping the house cool enough, you may want to check the condenser.
Clear the Drain Line
An air conditioning system removes up to 9 gallons of water from your home every day as a byproduct of cooling a home. That water collects in the drain pan of the indoor coil and drains out through a pipe connected to it. Clogged drain lines are a top service issue. It is paramount that you take the maintenance of your drain line seriously.
Fortunately, most drain lines have an emergency overflow cut off switch that automatically turns your system off if the drain line plugs. Even though your system won’t operate, at least you won’t flood your home.
To prevent the drain line from clogging, schedule a cooling tune up and make sure blowing out the drain under pressure and flushing the drain with water and vinegar is included. It is important that the location of the termination point is located. Instead of blowing out the drain, many times a wet/dry vacuum needs to be connected at the end of the drain line instead to suck out any algae, dirt, or rust that has collected inside the piping.
As preventative maintenance, you can also pour a gallon of warm water with a ¼ cup of vinegar through the drain pipe two to three times a year to help wash away any obstruction.
The Bottom Line
A few simple guidelines can save you from coming home to a broken air conditioner this summer. For questions, repairs, and to schedule the most comprehensive tune up available, call Stan’s Heating, Air & Plumbing for assistance today!