Furnace Fiascos Avoided

3 Lesser-Known AC Maintenance Tips

If you change your HVAC filter each month, you may think you're doing everything you can to maintain your central air conditioner. However, there are a few easy ways to extend AC life that many homeowners overlook. Learn to take advantage of these three lesser-known AC maintenance tips.

1. Turn Your AC Off When You're Away

The lifespan of an air conditioner is often measured in service hours rather than years. In other words, your AC will likely last longer if you shut it off when it's not needed. When you're at work or traveling, remember to shut off the AC if your home will be unoccupied for the day.

A programmable thermostat makes it a breeze to run your AC conservatively. A programmable thermostat gives you fine control over your central air conditioner's running schedule. For example, you can set your AC to shut off automatically overnight so you never wake up to a cold home. This simple adjustment can virtually cut your air conditioner's operating time in half.

2. Maintain Open Space Around Your Condenser

The condenser is the outdoor unit that dispels the heat your central air conditioner removes from your home. Central AC condensers need ample space around them to maintain proper airflow and prevent overheating. You can enjoy more efficient cooling and prevent condenser malfunctions by maintaining a few feet of open space around the outside unit.

Shrubs and tall grass are common offenders behind blocked condenser airflow. Trim greenery around your condenser regularly so the condenser coils have room to breathe. Also, remember to keep obstructions such as patio furniture as far from your condenser as possible.

3. Inspect Your AC Condensate Drain

As moist air moves across your AC evaporator, condensation naturally builds up on the cold evaporator coils. Modern central HVAC systems feature a condensate drain and drain pan under the evaporator to collect and remove this moisture. If the condensate drain becomes clogged, your air conditioner may start to leak around the interior air handler.

Some air conditioners have a float switch that disables the system until the pan is cleared to prevent water damage. You can quickly inspect your AC condensate drain by shutting off your HVAC system and removing the access panel. If you notice a high water level or excessive algae in the pan, consider calling an HVAC technician for a professional assessment.

Central air conditioners require relatively little maintenance, and these tips will give you peace of mind knowing that your AC is running at peak efficiency. Contact a company like Baton Rouge Air Conditioning & Heating to learn more.