The Nashville area’s cooling season is long, hot and humid, and your air conditioner will need all the help it can get to keep you cool in the heat without sending energy bills sky high. That’s where AC maintenance comes into play. The single most important factor for air conditioner efficiency is annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician. Air conditioners that are properly maintained last longer, cost less to operate, experience fewer breakdowns and keep you cooler than unmaintained systems.
Choosing a Contractor for Your Tune-up
It’s essential to choose a reputable contractor for your AC maintenance to ensure top-quality work and service. Reputable contractors ensure their technicians participate in ongoing training and certification to stay on top of new techniques and changing technologies in the HVAC world, and they guarantee the work they do.
What Your Professional AC Maintenance Includes
Over time, your air conditioner loses efficiency due to dust buildup on essential components like the fan, motor and coils, loosened connections and other wear that results from near-constant operation over the course of the cooling season. Unmaintained air conditioners experience more common, preventable problems than well-maintained systems, and your tuneup will include these key tasks to help prevent these problems:
- Lubricate the parts of the system that move, such as the motor and fan, to prevent friction.
- Measure the refrigerant level to ensure a proper charge and check for leaks if it’s low.
- Measure the airflow and the system’s temperature split.
- Inspect wiring and terminals, tighten connections and apply a nonconductive coating to prevent corrosion.
- Inspect the belts, fuses, pressure controls and relays.
- Clean and inspect essential components.
- Check the duct seal at the main unit for air leaks.
- Test your thermostat and, if necessary, calibrate it for accuracy.
- Flush the condensate drain to help prevent clogs during the most humid periods.
- Inspect the coils for scale, grime and dirt buildup, which can interfere with optimum heat transfer.
AC Maintenance Doesn’t End With Your Tuneup
After your technician tunes up the air conditioner, there are several monthly tasks you can perform over the course of the summer to ensure it continues to operate efficiently:
- Inspect the air filter and replace it when the filter material is no longer visible behind the dust. A clean filter will ensure proper airflow, protect the system against damaging dust buildup and improve indoor air quality by trapping harmful particles like mold spores, pollen, bacteria, dust mites and their debris.
- Spray down the outdoor unit with a hose. Debris becomes trapped in the small metal openings, which can restrict airflow and can build up on the coil, which interferes with the exchange of heat from your home’s air to the outdoors.
- Vacuum the area around the indoor unit to help protect the system’s interior against dust buildup and to prevent debris from settling in the condensate pan, which can lead to clogs in the drain and cause water damage, as well as shut down the system.
How to Reduce AC Usage
Keep in mind that even the most efficient air conditioner won’t perform optimally without a little help during particularly hot stretches. Here are some things you can do to help ease the cooling load on your system to lower energy bills and considerably increasing your comfort:
- Help combat solar heat gain by keeping your shades closed during the day. Solar heat gain results from the sun’s radiant energy striking your home, and most of it enters rooms through the windows.
- Operate heat-generating appliances early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid heating up your rooms during the hottest part of the day.
- Install a programmable thermostat to save money on cooling bills. Programmable thermostats allow you to pre-set temperatures in your home based on when you’re at work or sleeping. Raising the thermostat by just one degree for 8 hours can reduce your energy bills by one to three percent. Raise it by 10 degrees, and that’s a lot of savings.
- Clear the return and supply registers of obstructions, such as curtains and furniture, to maintain optimum airflow to the system and to ensure the efficient distribution of cooled air.
- Use ceiling fans to help you feel cooler. Fans cool people, not rooms, so be sure to turn them off in unoccupied rooms to conserve electricity.
To schedule AC maintenance with one of our skilled technicians, please feel free to contact us at Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning.
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