Cooling season in the Ocala area is long, hot and humid, and your air conditioner will soon be working nonstop to keep you comfortable in the sweltering heat. Air conditioner efficiency is essential for lowering energy bills while maintaining a high level of comfort in your home, and springtime A/C maintenance is just what the HVAC doctor ordered.
Annual preventive maintenance is the number one factor for system efficiency, longevity and problem-free operation. The number two factor is simple: routine DIY maintenance over the course of the summer to keep your system in top shape for the duration of the summer.
Professional Springtime A/C Maintenance
Spring is the best time to have your system tuned up by a skilled HVAC technician, who will perform these essential maintenance tasks:
- Lubricate the parts of your system that move to prevent friction.
- Measure the refrigerant level and check for leaks if it’s low. Leaks are harmful to the environment and detrimental to system efficiency.
- Measure the airflow of the system to ensure it meets specifications.
- Clean and inspect the wiring and terminals, tighten the connections and apply a nonconductive coating to prevent corrosion.
- Clean and inspect essential components like the fan, motor and coils.
- Inspect ductwork for obstructions and air leaks that can reduce efficiency and comfort.
- Inspect the thermostat and calibrate it if needed.
- Clean the condensate pan and flush the condensate drain to help prevent clogs during periods of high humidity, when condensation from the evaporator coil is heavy. Clogs can cause water damage in your home and trigger the shutting down of your system.
- Test the electric control of the system to ensure proper cycling to lower energy consumption and increase your comfort.
It’s important to hire a reputable contractor who employs skilled technicians who undergo regular training to keep up with constantly changing technologies and new techniques.
DIY Springtime A/C Maintenance
While your tuneup will vastly improve system efficiency, it takes a little work on your part to help maintain that efficiency for the duration of the long cooling season. These tasks should be added to your spring maintenance checklist to ensure your air conditioner and your home are ready for hot weather.
- Stock up on air filters. Even the most efficient air conditioner will perform poorly and likely experience problems without regular filter changes, and your indoor air quality will also suffer. The air filter in your air conditioner protects it from dust buildup, which can cause the premature failure of essential components, interfere with the ability of the coils to absorb heat energy from your home and expel it outdoors. A dirty filter also impedes the flow of air to your system and can cause overheating and related damage. Check the air filter every month. When you can’t see the white material behind the dust, replace it with a high-quality, pleated air filter.
- Seal air leaks around doors, windows and service entrances. When hot air leaks into your home and cool air leaks out, the air conditioner works overtime to compensate, increasing energy bills and decreasing comfort. Seal with caulk around door and window frames and gaps around pipes and vents that lead outdoors. Weatherstripping between the movable components of windows and doors will keep them tightly sealed when they’re closed, but still allow you to open them on cooler days.
Reduce Your Reliance on Cooling Equipment
In addition to springtime A/C maintenance, there are a number of things you can do throughout the summer to help ease the cooling load on your air conditioner and further lower energy costs:
- Use ceiling fans to help you feel cooler. But remember that fans don’t cool rooms, they cool people. Turn them off when rooms are unoccupied to help save on electricity costs.
- Close windows shades during the day to help combat solar heat gain, which warms up your rooms and makes the air conditioner work harder.
- Use heat-generating appliances during cooler times of the day to avoid heating up your home.
- Spray down the outdoor unit with a hose periodically throughout the summer. Debris becomes trapped in the unit’s fins, restricting airflow and preventing optimum heat exchange.
- Vacuum around the indoor unit regularly to help prevent dust from entering the HVAC system and to keep the condensate pan and drain free of debris.
For more expert advice on springtime A/C maintenance in the Ocala area, or to schedule your tuneup with one of our skilled technicians, please feel free to contact us at Sun Kool Air Conditioning, Inc.
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