10 Important Tips for Air Conditioner Maintenance

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

Chicago summers always deliver the heat, so you count on your air conditioner to keep things cool. You don’t want it to send utility bills through the roof, and you don’t want it to break down when temperatures sizzle.

Just like the car, your air conditioning system needs an inspection and tune-up every year. An annual checkup from your HVAC pro is essential to AC health, but you play an important role too. It’s easy to do your part with these 10 vital tips that help prevent costly air conditioning repairs.

1. Automate Savings and Comfort

Constantly adjusting the temperature forces AC equipment to work harder and consume extra energy. It also encourages condensation and mold growth in attics and crawl spaces.

Maintain a comfort zone around your schedule by installing a programmable thermostat. It saves wear and tear on the system, holds down cooling bills and saves the cost of mold remediation.

2. Schedule Filter Replacements

airco filter dirty

Even the best filters quickly fill up with enough airborne debris to put a strain on your AC’s entire system. Overheated equipment can fail and become a fire hazard.

Schedule AC filter replacements with reminders on your digital devices. This simple routine can improve indoor air quality, save the expense of replacement parts, and help avoid a home disaster and fire damage restoration.

3. Give Doors the Dollar Bill Test

Shut an exterior door on a dollar bill laid across the weather stripping. If the greenback slides out, you know that cool interior air is sneaking outside and making the AC work overtime.

Test all exterior doors, replace any worn-out weather stripping, and make sure that bottom sweeps form snug seals against threshold plates.

4. Inspect Windows and Caulking

Small cracks in the caulking around windows allow cool air to escape, and that adds to your AC’s workload and your monthly utility bills.

Inspect all windows, and seal up cracks with a quality caulking. The project might take an afternoon, but it pays off in better AC performance and lower energy bills.

5. Spread the Cool Air

ceiling fan

The AC works hard generating cool air that keeps your home comfortable, but it can’t stop or redirect the rise of warm air that accumulates in every room.

Spread cool air with ceiling fans set to run in a counter-clockwise rotation. They only cost pennies to operate, and they help circulate cool air throughout the entire house.

6. Build Up Thermal Layers

As insulation ages and packs down, it loses its original R-value rating. The compromise in your home’s thermal layer makes it hard for your AC to keep the house cool.

Invest in replacing worn insulation so that you can save the cost of higher energy bills and the expense of emergency air conditioning repairs during summer’s hottest months.

7. Keep the Indoors Open

Closing off rooms doesn’t hold down cooling bills. The strategy throws air circulation out of balance, buckles ductwork and can cause excess moisture to form and pool in ducts and crawl spaces.

Leave rooms open so that the AC can operate at maximum efficiency. This easy step reduces wear and tear on the system and can save the cost of water damage restoration.

8. Let Outside Equipment Breathe

airco unit outside bushes

The housing that protects your outdoor AC’s equipment is vented for good reason. The motor and fan that blow hot air out of the system generate a significant amount of heat.

Give the equipment breathing room by trimming back nearby bushes and overhanging trees. The unit works best with at least 24 inches of clear space on all four sides.

9. Keep It Clean with a Shower

You can trim the landscape around the outside unit, but you can’t protect equipment from dust, grass clippings and falling leaves. Even spider webs can accumulate on the fan and compressor.

Every few weeks, treat the equipment to a good shower with the garden hose. Start at the top with a spray attachment, work down each side, and finish by flushing debris away from the base.

10. Show the Unit Some Shade

During the summer, a unit located on the south or west side of a home deals with hours of exposure to direct sunlight, and that intense heat puts a strain on the compressor’s performance.

If the equipment isn’t protected from the sun by tall trees, install a simple awning to shade the unit. Be sure to allow plenty of overhead clearance for maximum air circulation.

When You Need an Extra Hand

about us servicemaster zaba

Our services don’t cover AC systems, but we enjoy providing you with easy-to-use information and DIY guides for keeping the house in great shape year-round. If you have money- and time-saving tips about AC care, we invite you to share with other homeowners through our Comments Section.

Whenever you need an extra hand around the house, you can count on our teams here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We offer a full line of professional cleaning services for your Chicago home, so just give us a call.