One of the most important things you can do to keep your air conditioning running smoothly is to regularly change the filter. That’s because a dirty air filter causes the system to work harder than it should, which in turn uses more energy. In addition, changing the filter is a fairly easy task that can be done in just a few minutes. It’s a good idea to make it a habit, by placing a reminder on your calendar or tying it into another household chore such as paying the electric bill.
Before you do any A/C maintenance, make sure to shut off power to the unit at the breaker box or in an exterior shut-off box near your unit, if applicable. Once the power is off, you can proceed to check the outdoor unit for any obstructions, such as leaves and twigs, that have accumulated around it. You should also make sure that the area around it is free of weeds, mulch and other debris that can cause the system to work harder than necessary.
If the outdoor unit appears clean and well-maintained, check inside to see if the blower fan is running. If it is not, the problem may be a tripped breaker or other electrical issue that can be fixed by a simple flip of a switch. If you’ve determined that the fan is running but the AC still isn’t cooling your home, it’s time to call in a professional.
In the meantime, there are a few other quick DIY maintenance tips you can try. The first is to flush the drain line with a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. This can help prevent a clog and possible water backup into your system. You can also add an “E-Z Trap” to your air conditioner, which is a clear tube that makes it easy to spot potential blockages before they become a major problem.
Finally, make sure that the ducts and vents in your home are properly sealed and insulated to prevent hot or cold air from escaping. You can do this by using caulking or spray foam, and by replacing worn weather stripping around doors and windows. It’s a good idea to use awnings over south-facing windows and to invest in window treatments that can keep sunlight from heating your home too much.
Of course, the best way to avoid an expensive A/C breakdown during the summer is to have a professional inspect and service your unit before the heat arrives. No one knows air conditioning units as well as the professionals, so be sure to schedule a visit before the temperatures start to climb. And don’t forget to look into a home warranty to help cover repairs on major appliances and systems like your A/C when they need to be replaced.
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