Caring For and Maintaining Your Central Air Conditioner

Spring is around the corner but we are feeling the signs of spring already.  As people’s thoughts turn to baseball and summer fun, don’t forget to get that AC ready for action! There are things that can help you can do to keep your central AC running efficiently and increase its’ lifespan.

Save some money and stay cool on those hot spring and summer nights.

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The outside portion of your AC is responsible for throwing off the heat from inside your home.  It does this by using refrigerant in copper tubes connecting the inside cooling coil (typically attached to the furnace) to the outside condenser.

It is important to keep the outside portion of your AC away from grass, leaves, brush and debris for it to work the best it can. It needs a good amount of air to do its job of getting the refrigerant cooled off when it cycles through the condensing unit part of the AC. Nothing should block the vents of the outside AC unit and it is best to have it clear two feet around the unit. When you sweep, cut weeds, or mow make sure that none of that debris goes into the condenser.

Aside from keeping things clear around the outside unit sometimes the inside or the outside coils can get dirty, diminishing the cooling capability, increasing the cooling cost by making the unit work harder.  You can help keep the inside coils clean by regularly changing your filters or having the furnace serviced with a company that tests the AC, cleans it and changes the filter.  The dirty coils can be professionally cleaned if needed for top performance.  Some people try to clean the coils themselves but it has been our experience since the coils are delicate, we along with other heating and AC contractors are often called in to fix the damage from home coil cleanings.

A cool condenser doesn’t have to work as hard as a hot condenser.  Keeping the unit shaded is helpful in reducing the energy costs and the units tend to last a little longer.  The Department of Energy suggests shading your condensing unit to save up to 10% on your cooling bill.  Take care not to plant a tree where the leaves fall into the condenser so it stays clean.

Programmable thermostats can help your AC reach the ideal temperature when you get home.  Some people turn their AC on and off putting a lot of wear on the unit and the room warms up again fairly quickly. This is mainly because the air did not have a chance to mix with warmer air in the home and certainly it did not have the time needed to cool the objects in the room. hot woman with a fan-resized-600

 

Some newer units are learning systems – they actually take measurements and learn how long (or short) the period of time is to cool or heat your home.  When the unit is turned off and on when you have a learning piece of equipment it defeats the energy efficient purpose that the unit is trying to accomplish.  On very hot days, any unit will need several hours to cool the space.  At times we hear of customers that are looking for a 20 degree temperature drop in a very short period of time.  This is an unreasonable expectation.  A consistent temperature is the best way to make sure that your home is cool when you get home.  So on very hot days many of our customers tend to leave the AC on a temperature such as 75 or 80 to prevent the home from overheating.  This makes it easier for the AC to get a comfortable living temperature when the occupants return or try to sleep.

Even after you checked to be sure that the condenser area is clear and clean plus the filter was changed it’s prudent to have a spring tune up for your AC.  A professional technician can tell you if the refrigerant should be recharged or if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.  Energy efficiency and peace of mind on those dog days of summer certainly make up for the tune up charge for your AC.

 Call Cold Craft at 408.374.7292

If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.

408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM

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