Springtime Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

Article provided by AHRI

Spring is the perfect time for homeowners to check and prepare their cooling equipment, making sure it operates at maximum efficiency before we reach the hot summer months. AHRI offers the following tips to help save you money on your cooling costs this summer.

  • Check your air filter and replace if it is dirty, or according to your manufacturer’s recommendation. This will keep dust from collecting on the evaporator coil fins, and can also cut your energy use
    by 5-15 percent! Make sure the power to your furnace is turned off before removing the filter, and reposition the new one according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure to clear away all yard debris from your condensing unit- the large metal box outside next to your home. Leaves, weeds, plants, and lawn clippings can collect and block the airflow through the
    unit, reducing its efficiency. Also, occasionally clean the unit by spraying it with a water hose.
  • Check to make sure indoor air conditioning vents are not blocked by furniture.
  • Closing off and closing the vents in unused rooms can help; though adding zone controls to automatically set back the temperature in these unused rooms can cut cooling costs as much as 20 percent.
  • Set the fan on high speed except in very humid weather. If you set the fan to low in humid weather, you will get less cooling, but the air circulation will make it feel cooler.

AHRI also suggests hiring a professional to service your air conditioner who will be able to find and fix problems in the system. Be aware that not all service technicians are trained equally; look for a technician certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE-certified technicians can be found online at www.natex.org. Be sure to insist that the technician:

  • Check for the correct amount of refrigerant and test for refrigerant leaks.
  • Capture any refrigerant that needs to be evacuated from the system.
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems.
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil.
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating and cooling systems cannot operate at the same time.
  • Inspect electrical terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary.
  • Check belts and oil motors for tightness and wear.

Steve Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, advises, “Heating and cooling is the single biggest energy consumer in a home, and accounts for about 40 percent of all the energy used by homeowners.” He also says central air conditioning units should last at least 12 to 15 years with proper maintenance, and that regular service will keep the system running smoothly. Making sure your system is running at its highest efficiency will help keep you cool
this summer and save on energy costs.

 

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Updated: July 13, 2012 — 7:49 am

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