With the summer season coming to a close, it's time to take stock of your air conditioner's performance. It's likely that your air conditioner has been running at high capacity all season, so it can use all the maintenance it can get before being retired for the fall and winter months. With these end-of-summer air conditioning maintenance tips, you can be sure your air conditioner will be up to the task of keeping your home cool and comfortable next summer.
Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist
Check and Replace the Air Filter
By now, it's likely that your air filter is completely impacted by dust and debris. A clogged filter can have a number of consequences on your air conditioning system. Not only can it significantly reduce your air conditioner's performance by interrupting its airflow, but it can also negatively impact your indoor air quality by spreading allergens throughout your home.
You should take this time to swap out your old air filter with a brand-new replacement. You might also want to upgrade to a pleated air filter if you're still using your air conditioner's stock fiberglass filter. A pleated air filter with a MERV rating between 7 and 13 offers roughly the same filtration performance as a true HEPA filter.
Clean the Condenser Cabinet and Condenser Coil
Whether they pile up outside or manage to get sucked inside, twigs, grass clippings, and other debris can pose problems for your air conditioner's outdoor condenser cabinet. A dirty condenser cabinet not only reduces your air conditioner's performance but can also create excessive wear and tear that eventually results in a premature breakdown.
In addition to cleaning the condenser cabinet, special attention should also be given to the condenser coil. Left to its own devices, a dirty condenser coil can decrease your air conditioner's cooling capacity while increasing your energy costs.
If you're not planning on using your air conditioning system for the remainder of the year, you can place a breathable mesh cover over the cabinet to protect it from falling leaves and other debris.
Clean the Evaporator Coil and Condensate Drainage System
The evaporator coil inside of your air handler cabinet also deserves special attention. A steady accumulation of dust and debris on the coil fins can block airflow and reduce your air conditioner's performance. By giving your evaporator coil a careful cleaning, you'll be able to maintain your air conditioner's performance while preventing the growth and spread of mold and mildew throughout the unit.
It's also a good idea to check the drip tray located below the evaporator coil as well as the condensate drain plumbing. A clogged drain pipe could allow escaping condensate to back up and spill out of the air handler, and the stagnant water could become a prime breeding ground for algae and mold.
Check and Reprogram Your Thermostat
When it comes to your air conditioner, the thermostat is literally the brains of the operation. It's important to make sure your thermostat not only works properly but is also as accurate as possible. An inaccurate thermostat could result in wasted energy and higher energy costs throughout its lifespan.
You should also program your thermostat in order to take advantage of fall and winter energy savings. A properly programmed thermostat not only keeps your home comfortable but can also help you reduce energy usage and save money in the process.
Invest in a Professional Tune-Up
In addition to performing your own cursory inspection, you should also have your HVAC technician perform a comprehensive tune-up on your air conditioner. A seasoned technician can perform a wide variety of preventative AC maintenance measures to ensure that your air conditioner operates at peak performance and efficiency.
Your HVAC technician can also spot potential problem areas that can be addressed early to prevent more serious issues later on. A professional tune-up can prevent costly and time-consuming system failures that would otherwise plague your air conditioner.
The seasoned professionals at Holstead's can take care of your end-of-summer air conditioner maintenance needs. Contact us when you're ready to schedule service.