Our family has been in the air conditioning business for over 30 years. We have spent much of that time servicing residential A/C units in the Houston area – one of the most demanding environments for these units. One thing we see every year is people spending a fortune to repair or replace an A/C units because they failed to do simple maintenance.
Here are a few things that you can do to save yourself a lot of money and to keep your A unit running more efficiently.
1. Replace your air filter at least once a month and more often if you have pets. Our family tends to replace our A/C filters with cheap filters and not the high dollar filters that are supposed to catch every single spec of dust. Like most of you, our air conditioning unit is older and installing a filter with a tight weave will put too high of a load on our older A/C unit.
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2. Clean your unit’s condenser (the component that sits outside your home) on a regular basis. Here we are referring to the coils of the condenser. If you look inside the condenser you will see the coils – something that looks like a car’s radiator. If the coil is covered with leaves or mud, your system will lose much of its efficiency. Worse yet, this extra load will cost you more money in terms of higher cooling bills and more money in blown parts. Having a dirty condenser could cause your air conditioning unit to run under a heavier load that could lead to Freon leaks and or damaged components. Of course, these damaged components could include a damaged compressor.
For those of you with insurance policies that are supposed to cover your A/C needs, keep this in mind: Insurance companies may deny your claim if your unit does not appear to have received basic maintenance (like a regular cleaning) – that’ how important basic maintenance is to your air conditioning unit’s longevity.
3. Insulate! You have invested a great deal of money on an air conditioning unit for your home now make sure that cool air does not escape or that the heat does not come in. At one business we visited the customer complained that the unit was not up to par. We did an inspection and found that the ducts were releasing a lot of the cold air into the space between the ceiling tiles and the ceiling. The doors to the outside also had big cracks that were allowing cool air to escape. And finally, when we touched the perimeter walls they were hot – they had no insulation at all.
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