The Ultimate AC Checklist
Air conditioning becomes essential to keeping your home comfortable and livable as temperatures rise. Proper maintenance keeps your unit functioning correctly and saves money on energy bills in the long run. In this article, we look at a comprehensive air conditioner maintenance checklist to ensure you're well-prepared for all seasons of the year.
Scheduling Routine Maintenance
Maintenance for your central air unit should be performed routinely, especially before the summer months hit. Scheduling maintenance allows you to catch any issues before they become significant problems. Consider the following:
Frequency of Maintenance
How often you complete maintenance on your unit will depend on a number of factors, including the age and overall condition of your AC system. A system over a decade old will likely require more frequent maintenance than a newer one. Ideally, you should have your HVAC system inspected and maintained at least once yearly. Smaller tasks like replacing your filter may need to be completed more often.
Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Maintenance
Professional air conditioning maintenance is highly recommended rather than trying to figure it out on your own. Professional HVAC maintenance ensures that your system is inspected and repaired by a qualified technician with the tools, training, and knowledge to diagnose and fix problems. A professional tune up visit can include tasks like system operation assessment and refrigerant level checks, which can help to improve your system's performance and energy efficiency.
When a professional performs maintenance on your system, they may address the following:
- Cleaning or replacing your air filter
- Checking your refrigerant levels and topping off if needed
- Inspecting the evaporator coil and blower motor
- Inspecting and lubricating moving parts
- Testing your thermostat
- Spraying down condenser coils
- Checking electrical connections
- Inspecting the condensate drain line
Replacing Air Filters
Replacing your air filter is one of the simplest yet most critical air conditioning maintenance tasks. The air filter traps dust, dirt, and other airborne particles to prevent them from entering your AC system. When the filter becomes clogged, your AC unit has to work extra hard to pull clean air through it, making it less efficient and more costly. Here are some tips for replacing your air filters:
Frequency of Filter Replacements
The frequency of filter replacement depends on factors like the type of filter you have installed, the number of airborne particles in your home, and airflow. Generally, it's a good idea to check your filters once per month for excessive dirt and debris. If you have pets who shed a ton of hair, this is an example of when you might need to replace it more frequently.
Choosing the Correct Filter
Choosing the correct filter for your AC unit is crucial to maintaining good indoor air quality and running your system smoothly. The wrong filter can cause damage to your system and can cause poor indoor air quality. Consult your system manual for the correct filter types to use, or check with a professional HVAC company to upgrade your filter with something more effective.
Replacing Your Filter
Replacing your filter is a straightforward task. Simply locate your filter, remove the old filter, and then slide the new filter into place. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper replacement. And, ensure you have a replacement filter before removing the old one. You'll definitely want to turn off your ac system to prevent anything getting pulled into your system before you add in the new filter.
Cleaning Your Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit of your air conditioning system is exposed to the elements all year round. To ensure it is running smoothly, you should perform routine maintenance on the coils, fan belt, and other components. Here are some tips on cleaning your outdoor unit:
Turn Off Power to Your Unit
Before you begin cleaning your outdoor unit, be sure to turn off the power to avoid any potential electrical hazards. You can turn off the power to the outdoor unit by locating the disconnect switch near the unit and pulling it out or flipping it to the "off" position. You can also turn your system off at the thermostat.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils are responsible for transferring heat from inside your home to the outside air. Over time, these coils can become clogged with dirt, debris, and other particles, which reduces their efficiency.
Clean the Condenser Fan Motor
The condenser fan motor is responsible for blowing air over the condenser coils to help cool them down. Over time, dust and debris can build up on the fan blades, which can cause the fan to spin more slowly or become unbalanced. To clean the motor, use a garden hose and move it all around the system to spray off any debris that may have collected on the fan motor or coils.
Addressing Potential Airflow Issues
Restricted airflow can cause your air conditioning unit to work harder, use more energy, and produce less cool air. Here are some tips on how to maintain airflow throughout the summer:
Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate in vents and registers, restricting airflow and making your air conditioning unit work harder. Regularly cleaning these components will reduce the airflow resistance and keep your unit working efficiently.
2. Check for Obstructions Around the Air Conditioning Unit
Your AC unit requires good airflow to run optimally. Therefore, it is important to keep obstructions, such as plant growth, outdoor furniture, or pet homes at least two feet away from the outdoor unit. This will allow air to flow freely around the unit and facilitate efficient functioning.
3. Make Sure That Your Fan Motor and Fan Belt Are In Good Condition
The fan in your air conditioning unit is responsible for moving air through the system. If it is not functioning properly, it can cause airflow issues and reduce efficiency. Have a professional HVAC technician check the fan motor and fan belt for signs of wear and ensure these components are in good condition. They may then be able to lubricate these parts as recommended.
4. Inspect and Clean Condenser Coils
Dirty condenser coils can restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. To maintain optimal airflow and reduce energy usage, clean the condenser coils regularly using water (depending on the state of the coils), or opt for a professional chemical cleaning from an HVAC professional. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning.
Monitoring Thermostat Setting
Your thermostat helps regulate the temperature in your home, which affects your energy bill and the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Here are some tips to help ensure your thermostat is working correctly to beat the summer heat:
1. Set Your Thermostat to Optimal Temperatures
During the summer, set the temperature to meet your comfort needs. When you leave the home for long periods of time, only reduce the temperature by 2-3 degrees from your normal setting, rather than a more drastic temperature difference. This will ensure that you conserve some energy while away, but also not overwork your system to catch back up to your desired temperature when you arrive home. Make sure that temperatures are set at optimal levels for comfort, energy conservation and to keep your AC system running smoothly.
2. Check the Batteries of Your Thermostat
If your thermostats use batteries, remember to check and replace them annually or as needed. Make sure that the batteries are working properly all the time.
Inspecting Your Ductwork
Ductwork is a critical component of your air conditioning system and is often overlooked. Poorly performing ductwork can cause your air conditioning unit to work harder and increase energy consumption. Here are some tips for inspecting your ductwork:
1. Inspect Your Air Ducts for Leaks and Disconnects
Inspect your air ducts for leaks or disconnects, which can cause reduced airflow and higher energy costs. Have a professional air conditioning maintenance provider inspect and seal your ducts when necessary to maintain optimal airflow and energy efficiency.
2. Check the Register and Grilles for Dust and Debris Buildup
Registers and grills are where air from your AC system enters your home. Ensure regular cleaning to remove dirt and dust buildup from the grille and register to avoid negligible airflow. Consider a duct cleaning every 5 years to help remove the excess dust and debris that can acummulate throughout your ductwork.
To wrap it up, regular AC maintenance is necessary to keep your AC running smoothly, improve energy efficiency, and avoid costly repairs. Use our AC maintenance checklist to ensure you don't forget anything important. Performing the tasks on this checklist will reduce the risk of breakdowns and ensure that your home stays cool throughout the cooling season.
About Logan A/C & Heat:
Logan A/C & Heat Services is a family-owned and operated HVAC contractor in Blue Ash, Ohio. We have been providing heating and cooling services to the Cincinnati area for over 30 years. We offer a wide range of services, including installation, repair, maintenance, and air quality solutions. Our team of experienced and certified technicians is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality of service. We use only the most advanced equipment and technology to ensure that your HVAC system is installed and maintained properly. We also offer a wide range of financing options to make it easy for you to afford the HVAC services you need.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you keep your home comfortable all year long.
Is it necessary to hire a professional for AC maintenance?
It is recommended to hire a professional for AC maintenance. Professional HVAC technicians are experts in identifying and addressing potential issues with your AC unit that you may not be aware of. They are also equipped with the tools and equipment needed to properly clean and service the unit, ensuring it runs efficiently and effectively. Additionally, having regular professional maintenance can extend the lifespan of your AC unit and save you money on costly repairs or replacements in the long run.
What are some easy AC maintenance tasks that I can do myself?
Here are some easy AC maintenance tasks that you can do yourself:
1. Clean or replace air filters regularly. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.
2. Keep the outdoor unit clear of debris such as dirt, leaves, and grass clippings.
3. Check the condensate drain line for clogs and clean it if necessary.
4. Check the thermostat settings and replace the batteries if needed.
5. Inspect the ductwork for any leaks or damage and seal them with duct tape or mastic.
6. Inspect the fan motor and the fan blade for any damage or wear.
7. Check the electrical connections at the outdoor fuse box and replace the fuses if necessary.
8. Inspect the refrigerant lines for any leaks or damage.
Remember to turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance tasks. If you are unsure about any of these tasks, contact a professional HVAC technician for assistance.
How often should I perform AC maintenance?
It is recommended to perform AC maintenance at least once a year, preferably before the start of the cooling season. This will ensure that the system is running at peak efficiency and can help identify potential issues before they become major problems.