Air Conditioner Maintenance: Is it Really Necessary?

Air Conditioner Maintenance: Is it Really Necessary?On a hot Denver day, coming home to a cool, comfortable house is something many people appreciate but rarely think about. As long as your system is working, you may think you don’t need air conditioner maintenance. The fact is, with regular use over time your system becomes dirty, less efficient and more likely to have a serious breakdown. An annual air conditioner tune-up provides many benefits, not the least of which is saving you money.

Your air conditioner’s filters, coils and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance and a steady increase in energy use. That means higher operating costs, greater potential for expensive and shorter life. The cost of regular tune-ups easily pays for itself with the savings realized in those three areas.

What Your Tune-up Should Include:

    • Filter cleaning or replacement.
      The air filter is the first line of defense in protecting your air conditioner and keeping  it functioning at peak efficiency. Replacing or cleaning the filter once a month is something you can and should do yourself. However, your HVAC technician will check your filter and clean or replace it as necessary.
    • Checking the air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils.
      Even with a clean are filter, over months and years of use, the evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and reduces the coil’s ability to absorb heat.If the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby this can increase the amount of dirt that settles on the outdoor condenser coils. Having the coils checked and cleaned each year avoids this problem.
    • Check for and fix bent coil fins and blocked airflow.
      The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Your HVAC technician will check for this and fix any bent coils to restore airflow.
    • Ensure the condensate drains aren’t clogged.
      Clogged drain channels prevent the air conditioner from reducing humidity. The excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet and, if allowed to persist, can cause mold growth.
    • Check for correct amount of refrigerant using superheat and/or sub cooling.
      This is a step to verify that the system has the correct amount of refrigerant for optimum efficiency.
    • Test all electrical loads, controls and safeties. Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary.
      This ensures that all components of the system are working properly and there are no safety hazards.
    • Check for excessive duct leakage.
      Leaky ducts allow the cooled air you are paying for to escape and never reach the living areas of your home. Excessive leaks will require your air conditioner to run longer, work harder and, therefore, use more energy for the same or even worse performance than you’d have otherwise. Sealing those leaks prevents wasted energy and unnecessary wear and tear.
    • Verify temperature differentials are within range.
      The difference in the temperature coming out of the supply vents compared to return air vents should be approximately 17-21 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
    Your thermostat my lose calibration over time as a result of being bumped, or simply getting dirty. An improperly calibrated thermostat will affect the performance of your air conditioner (making the room too warm or too cold) and can raise your energy bill significantly, even if it is only off by a couple of degrees.

When and how often should you have your air conditioner tuned up?  Ideally, in the spring once a year.

Save time, money, energy and headaches. Call Northern Climate Control today to schedule your spring air conditioner maintenance.