Air Conditioning Maintenance: Top Dos and Don’ts to Keep Them Running Efficiently

The benefits of following the tips outlined below are twofold: these tips will not only keep your air conditioning unit running efficiently all summer, but they will also help lower your utility bills by maximizing efficiency and saving energy.

Things You Should Do:

1. Regular Maintenance

For an air conditioning unit to stay in good condition, it is necessary to have regular maintenance scheduled. In addition to cleaning the unit, licensed, bonded and insured HVAC professional will also:

  • Inspect the bearing for wear and lubricate as needed
  • Check air filter, indoor coil and condenser coil
  • Measure amperage and voltage of the blower motor and compressor for proper operation
  • Test, calibrate and level the thermostat for proper operation
  • Inspect the electrical disconnect box for proper rating and safe installation
  • Inspect and tighten electrical wiring connections
  • Check and test capacitors
  • Check the air conditioner unit for time delay relay and isolation pads
  • Ensure the service valves are operating properly
  • Ensure there is no energy loss because of damaged ductwork
  • Inspect suction line, all fittings and blower belt

2. Checking the Filters

Because of all the dust and allergen in the air during the summer, checking the air filters is almost indispensable. You can check them once per month and replace them if they become clogged. This is especially important if you want to lower your electricity bills. The more dirt there is in the filters, the harder will your system have to work to supply the same amount of cool air to your house.

3. Ensuring the air conditioning unit is not exposed to constant sunlight

Unless the air conditioner is installed in a place that has proper shade, chances are your electricity bills are going to get ridiculously high. Since shaded spaces tend to be cooler than the surrounding air, the A/C unit is less likely to work hard to cool air and is more likely to run efficiently. So, instead of placing that bulky HVAC in just any unused corner, find a shady spot. It is one of the best of conserving energy.

Things to Avoid at All Costs

1. Improperly sized systems

When buying a new A/C unit, ensure a complete load calculation is done before the purchase to determine exactly how much cooling capacity your home needs. While bigger is not necessarily better, neither is smaller. If the air conditioner is oversized, it will constantly cycle on and off, resulting in uncomfortable temperature changes. An undersized air conditioner, on the other hand, will not have enough cooling capacity and will eventually wear itself out faster. Both oversized and undersized A/C can lead to overconsumption of energy.

Hence, you want an experienced contractor to take the measurements. Generally, he or she will do that by considering square footage, layout, insulation and load-generating appliances. The HVAC professional will then be able to recommend a perfectly sized A/C unit that will meet the cooling need of the room.

2. Keeping the air conditioning on 24/7

You may be tempted to leave the A/C unit running during the while you are off to work but having the air conditioner run full blast all day long is wasteful and will significantly blow up your electricity bill. Even if you want to come home to a cooler temperature on sticky, humid summer days, remember that a well-maintained aircon needs only a few minutes to cool your home.

Also, consider turning your air conditioner off overnight or setting a timer so it shuts off automatically during the night. This not only prevents you from wasting energy but also enables you to not sacrifice much of your comfort since your body can tolerate higher temperatures when asleep than when awake. It also means you will not wake up the next morning to freezing temperatures (temperature falls during the night).

3. Not Switching the A/C on for a long period

You should indeed avoid keeping you’re A/C running 24/7, but conversely, you don’t want to shut it down for long stretches of time. A unit that sits idle accumulates dust and mould, hence causing the condition of the A/C unit to deteriorate. While you want to save on electricity bills, you certainly do not want to pony up a huge amount of cash to have the whole unit repaired – it beats the whole purpose of trying to be cost-effective.

What you can try doing instead is having the air conditioner running for only a few minutes every other day. If you plan on going on vacation and know that your home is going to be vacant for a long period of time, consider upgrading to a WiFi thermostat. It is an innovative control device that allows homeowners to remotely control the air conditioning from long distance. No matter where you are in the world, you will be able to turn the air conditioning on and off at any time.