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In the middle of a volatile summer or winter, the last thing that you want to happen is for your air conditioning unit to unexpectedly break down and stop working or even work less efficiently. In a volatile weather environment, an air conditioning unit that is working too hard can add literally hundreds of dollars to a household budget per year. This number goes up if the space in question is a place of business.
For these reasons, having a routine AC repair for yourself is absolutely essential to saving money and protecting the well-being of those inside your living or work space. Although you should always have a licensed professional do your AC repair every once in a while, there are a few things that every person can do for him or herself to further ensure the highest quality performance of an AC unit possible.
Below are some of the things that everyone can do to increase the efficiency of their AC unit and cut down on the number of AC repair visits that they receive per year.
- To avoid having an AC repair happen too often, change your filter
A dirty filter for an air-conditioning unit is like an oil change for a car. Done routinely, a filter cleaning can help to avoid many of the more serious problems that A/C units come across. Make sure to change your filter every month during seasons in which you need a great deal of cooling done in your living space. In order to find the best filter that you can, note the MERV rating of the filter you are choosing. The highest rating on this scale is 12, and that is what you want ideally. However, the higher the rating, the more that the filtration will actually cost. Try to balance your need for filtration with your overall energy costs to get the best deal.
- Fix the leaks that you can in your ducts
Up to 30% of airflow can be lost through the ducts in your air conditioner. Make sure that you have sealed up as much of the ductwork as you can with foil tape. For bigger gaps, you can use duct mastic. If you have reservations about fixing any duct leaks, it’s always a good idea to call a professional. Doing this will keep your air conditioning from working harder during the most volatile seasons and forcing you to have an AC repair done more frequently than you would normally.
- Use the built-in timer on your thermostat
If you do not have a built-in timer, consider having a programmable thermostat installed. You do not have to run the air conditioner at full blast all day. For instance, when you are at work, the airflow in your house should be regulated so that the air conditioner does not have to work at full tilt all day. When you’re on vacation, you can reduce the temperature considerably and reset when you arrive home. However, we do not recommend shutting off the system for short periods of time. This can actually increase the instances of AC repair that you will need because you will overwork the compressor when the air conditioner turns itself back on and tries to return your house to the desired temperature.
- Ducts that are in especially hot places should be wrapped
If you have a duct in a hot attic, you should wrap it in order to keep cool air around it. There are many different materials that you can use to insulate a duct including spray foam, rigid foam and batt insulation.
- Make sure to self service your compressor
Although most of the things that are done with your compressor will be done by a certified technician, there are a few things that you can do to ensure the most efficient performance of your compressor. First of all, you should make sure that you have at least 2 feet of space between your compressor and the next large object. This means that you should get rid of any trees or bushes around the compressor that are closer than 2 feet. If there are hanging branches around your compressor, make sure to cut them down.
- Keep your air conditioning unit from working hard by implementing a few simple things
The general rule of air-conditioners is that the harder that it has to work, the more frequently it will be in need of repair. Keep your air conditioning unit from working so hard by keeping your windows covered or shaded during the day. If you have the ability to install awnings, you should do this on the southern side of your house to keep the sun from blasting into your living space and creating unnecessary heat. You should also run the ceiling fans while you’re running the air conditioning to help circulate air around the living space. This technique also helps to keep the air conditioning unit itself cooler, which increases its efficiency.
- Schedule your routine air conditioning checkups in a strategic manner
You should have the qualified technician come in and service your air conditioning unit before the season begins in which you need the most cooling. The repair that they perform should include a proper fan belt adjustment, fully checking the refrigerants in the AC unit, making sure that the motors are fully lubricated, making sure that the coils are clean and replacing any filters that need that kind of attention.