air conditionerHomeowners always want to know how they can help extend the life of their air conditioner. It makes sense because a new air conditioning unit can be pretty expensive. At Cates Heating and Cooling, we want to make sure that our customers are well-equipped to keep their air conditioning unit running for as long as possible. Here are just a few of our favorite tips for increasing the lifespan of an air conditioner.

Schedule Maintenance Check-Ups

The single best thing that you can do for your HVAC system is to get it checked out by a professional twice a year. This type of routine maintenance can ensure that any problems are caught early, and the unit can be thoroughly cleaned to make sure that the equipment is running smoothly and efficiently. It is best to schedule these check-ups in the spring and late summer or early fall. This will allow you to switch from heat to air conditioning and back without any problems.

During these maintenance check-ups, a professional will make sure all moving parts are working with no safety issues. Fluid levels and filters will be checked and replaced when necessary. The whole system will be checked for leaks and cleaned of debris and gunk that builds up. These small services will help your system run more safely and efficiently and for longer.

Change the Air Filter

Dirty air filters are more than just gross; they can cause the air in your home to be dirty as well. Most homeowners use air filters that should be replaced every month. If you have pleated filters, they generally last for about three months before they need to be replaced. You should check the status of your filters regularly to make sure that your filters are clean.

Additionally, dirty air filters cause your system to have to work hard to circulate air into your home. The extra work can be taxing on the fan and the whole system. Overworking the fan can cause premature problems with your air conditioning system.

Typically, the big box store air filters that have high MERV ratings, do a good job of filtration although they can be damaging to systems that have older marginally sized ducts.  If high filtration is a requirement due to certain health circumstances of the residents, ie. Allergies, a professional filter is the way to go.  Finally, beware of the “expensive” filters as they can slow the air through the system dramatically.

Check the Condenser

The air conditioner condenser is located outside of your home, and while it is built to withstand the elements, that doesn’t mean it is impervious to damage. Check periodically for damage from hail, storms, or debris like leaves and trash, which sometimes get blown into nooks and crannies. If there is any debris in the condenser, you should clean it out to help the unit breathe more easily. Make sure that vegetation is also cleared from the area.

Fans:  Proceed with Caution

It seems simple enough to use a fan on days that aren’t particularly hot instead of cranking the air conditioner, but we want you to proceed with caution. Ceiling fans or stand-alone fans placed by open windows can help keep your home cool are fine.  However, when running your HVAC fan, the outside air is being brought into the home, which is saturated with moisture.  We know this living in the Midwest via the hot and sticky summer nights.  When bringing in humidified air, the A/C has to work extremely hard to catch up with the dehumidification of the home.  When running the fan, you let in moisture that the air conditioner removed the day before.  Dry is happy in the summer.

Clean Air Ducts

Dirt and debris in your air ducts could slow down the air flow into the rooms of your home. If you notice that the air in your home doesn’t seem to be cooling properly, dirty air ducts could be the reason. To prevent your air conditioner from becoming overworked, clean your air ducts every few months. You can also have a professional technician come to your home to do a deep clean on the air ducts in your home.

Cates Heating and Cooling technicians can help guide in you keeping your air conditioning unit fully functioning for as long as possible. However, old air conditioning units may need to be replaced. This is a normal part of owning an HVAC unit. In some cases, the best thing you can do for your HVAC unit is to replace it altogether.

To work with a professional in the Lenexa, Kansas, area, contact Cates Heating and Cooling today. Our experts can help you decide the best ways to keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape. To contact us, give us a call at 913-888-4470.