Do you ever dread that thought? Do you wonder if the unit will actually work the next time you flip the switch?
Here are some helpful tips to help your air conditioning unit last as long as it should.
- Change the filter every month. I don’t care if you use a two inch pleated or a one inch fiber filter, they both have the same amount of air and particulates trying to pass through them. an easy time is every time you pay the electric bill, go change the filter.
- Clean the return air grill and filter box. Most people have vacuums with all kinds of fancy attachments they never use. Put one of those attachments on the vacuum and clean the grill in front of the air filter, then open the grill, remove the filter and clean the area behind it. (Now that the attachment is already on the vacuum, clean the ceiling fan blades too, you can’t believe the amount of dust on the top of some of the blades)
- Clean the area around the outside air conditioning unit. These units pull air through the sides and blow it out the top. Anything that restricts the air from flowing in the sides (or out the top) will make the unit work harder and reduce the efficiency. I recently was in a subdivision where the builder located the laundry dryer vent right next to the outside AC units, The units had lint restricting air flow on one side.
- Check the units clearances. Anything that restricts the airflow around the AC unit will effect its performance, make sure the clearance around the unit is at least what the manufacture recommends. If you get the model number off of the unit you can typically find the installation manual on line.
- Check to see what is above the unit. Anything less than five feet directly above the unit can effect how the unit functions, this includes roofs, trees, structures etc.
- What drains on the unit. This is one of the most controversial topics about air conditioning in Arizona. The outside unit is designed to be outside (duh) it can get rained on too, however most all manufactures put in the installation instructions not to place the unit under roof that will direct water on to or in to the unit. This make a lot of sense when you think about it. We have a balanced fan at the top of the unit blowing air up, in monsoon season we have a heavy rain and you have a huge section of roof diverting the water on to the spinning electric fan. I see units installed like this all the time and if they are over 5 years old they typically have already had the fan motor replaced, however homes where the units do not have the roof water draining on them don’t seem to need to have the fans replaced. You can decide if this is an issue you wish to address, it is not a difficult thing to correct, simply place a gutter at the roof that directs water away from the unit (and the foundation)
- Have the unit serviced on a regular basis, if your refrigerant is running low you may not know it but running the unit that way for a long time can reduce it’s life so have it serviced. It is typically cheaper to do this before it gets too hot outside.
- Check your duct work. Most of the homes in the phoenix area have flexible round duct work. Think of this duct has a hose that has air flowing through it. If the hose is kinked, pinched, restricted or not supported it will effect the amount of air that flows through it. I frequently see duct work improperly installed. Have a licensed contractor tune it up if needed. If you have not changed your filters on a regular basis you may want to have the ducts cleaned.
Remember when you purchase the home to have a home inspector look at the air conditioning, not just the unit but the ducts and registrars as well and verify that there is air flow in every room. For additional information about air conditioning .