When it comes to home comfort, nothing beats a quality HVAC system in terms of return on investment. This is especially true in areas such as Texas, where summers are long, hot, and humid. The key to getting the most out of your air conditioning and heating system is to keep it in good working order. While professional maintenance plans aren’t a substitute for doing things yourself, there are a few things you can do on your own. Other tasks should be delegated to an expert HVAC technician.
What you should do?
1. Changing air filters
Filters that are clogged or unclean have a major impact on HVAC performance. They decrease airflow, causing the cooling or heating system to work harder to keep you cold or warm. A clogged filter might potentially cause damage to the machine. Changing the filter regularly can save you up to 15% on energy costs and protect you from costly repairs.
You may need to change your filters every month depending on the size of your home, the position of the filters, the season, and the air quality. When you pull them out, you’ll notice how unclean they are; if they’re covered in dust, it’s time to replace them.
2. Keeping the A/C unit free of debris
We enjoy trees and the shade they give, but if leaves and plant debris wind up inside your air conditioner, they can obstruct airflow and necessitate repair. Keep mowed grass, leaves, and weeds out of your unit. There should not any be no bushes or plants near the outside unit else they will obstruct the airflow. Objects, plants, and other items should be kept at least two feet away from your unit.
3. Listen to Indoor Unit
It’s important to pay attention to the noises that your interior air conditioner unit makes during operation. That way, if/when weird noises occur, you’ll be able to recognize them.
When there is a broken or loose item, such as an indoor fan motor/blade, or something out of balance, such as the fan barrel, banging or clanking is typical. Depending on the part’s position and severity, it may require treatment before the unit may be used again. Alternatively, if the system is nearing the end of its life, it may simply be a matter of monitoring and allowing the air conditioner to operate until it fails.
Check for the noises such as rattling or chattering, buzzing, high-pitched whistling, or screaming noises. A variety of noises can signal that something is wrong with your outside unit. Knowing the normal sounds of your air conditioner allows you to spot unusual noises and seek professional assistance when a problem cannot be addressed through conventional DIY AC maintenance.
4. Check and Clear Condensate Drain
A clogged air conditioner drain is a common sign that the unit needs to be serviced. When debris, such as algae, slime, or mold, accumulates in the air conditioning drain pipe, it can cause blockages. Cockroaches, for example, can die, pass through, and then bulk up in a drain line over time as they collect water, forming an obstruction. Insulation from the interior unit, for example, can break off and clog the drain.
You can use a wet/dry vac to vacuum out the drain if you have easy access to the drain’s end. Increase the suction pressure where needed by wrapping duct tape around the end of the drain line and vacuum head. Many obstructions can be sucked out and cleared with this procedure, allowing the AC drain to work regularly once more.
When to call an expert?
Check the Refrigerant Charge
The fluid that keeps your air conditioner going, whether it’s a regular air conditioner or a heat pump, is refrigerant. Too much or too little refrigerant reduces the efficiency of the system, costing you money. The system should also be checked for refrigerant leaks regularly. This is a job that requires a professional.
Ductwork efficiency survey
Air can escape through leaks, gaps, or poor connections, causing the system to work longer to keep you comfortable. Sealing and insulating your ducts can help you save a lot of money. Dirty ducts affect efficiency as well. It’s a good idea to get the ducts cleaned by a professional regularly to improve ventilation and indoor air quality.
Have a Professional Test Performance
It’s not as simple as turning on your air conditioner and checking the temperature to see how well it works. Multiple components are examined during a professional maintenance visit to ensure your cooling and heating system is operating at top efficiency. Everything is regulated to ensure optimum cooling comfort, from the thermostat and beginning cycle to the blower performance. Electrical connections are double-checked, moving parts are greased, and each component is examined for signs of wear.
Check for Signs of Refrigerant Leak
Poor performance might be the first sign of a refrigerant shortage in an air conditioner. Refrigerant is an important component of the heat transfer process that results in air conditioning or heating in reverse cycle air conditioning systems. If the levels are lower than what the system was built for, an air conditioner may take longer to cool or heat an indoor space, and the room may never achieve the required temperature.
Whether you’ve observed a drop in performance, re-test your air conditioner after it’s been cleaned to determine if it’s still struggling.
If an air conditioner is low on refrigerant, there might be a leak somewhere. Cracks, perforations, or other damage to the refrigeration system might result in a gas leak. Gas can also leak out of an AC unit due to poor installation or a manufacturing defect. Always call the professional whenever you think there is a refrigerant leak.
Other important things are mentioned below
Make sure you have the right amount of refrigerant.
Using a leak detector, check for refrigerant leaks.
Airflow via the evaporator coil should be evaluated.
Check that the electric control sequence is proper and that the heating and cooling systems are not operating at the same time.
Examine electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and, if necessary, apply a non-conductive coating.
Motors should be oiled, and belts should be checked for tightness and wear.
Examine the thermostat’s accuracy.
While there are many things you can do to maintain and extend the life of your air conditioner on your own, please don’t hesitate to contact professionals. Leading industry organizations, as well as the unit manufacturers themselves, recommend hiring a specialized air conditioning professional to do a major air conditioning service. If the system is not properly maintained during the manufacturer’s warranty period, the warranty may be voided.