Maintenance for Better, Longer Performance from Your AC Unit

 
The Old Pueblo is gearing up for the impending summer heat with home improvement projects and making plans of escape from the sweltering temps. Out with all of your favorite breathable apparel and away with coats and warmer clothing accessories is everyone’s protocol at this time of the year.
 
No doubt you have your hands full with last-minute spring projects, but don’t forget the sweet relief a working air conditioner will provide when you return home from the outdoors. The baking desert heat in June will be too formidable a foe to be beaten by a couple of fans and an Arnold Palmer on ice.
 
Temps have already constituted the use of your AC unit on a few days this year, so more than likely you’ve sent it through a test run. If you set your thermostat to your usual comfortable 76-78 degrees and your home still feels much warmer than it should, chances are some part of your unit either needs a tune-up or it has malfunctioned.
 
On average, air conditioners can stand up to 15 years of hard work to keep the ambient air in your home comfortable. Experienced homeowners know that with a diligent, scheduled maintenance routine, top-quality units can stretch even longer.
 
You should have a service contract if you bought a new unit. Better contracts cover defective part replacement and some even offer free labor. Check your contract carefully to see the services covered.
 
Tip: Before you call the company where you purchased the unit, try letting your AC run on the coldest temp for about 5 minutes, and then switch it off for 2 minutes. Turn it back on and then set your thermostat to your desired comfort zone. If after a couple of minutes warm air still comes out of the vents, this could mean your unit is in need of a Freon recharge. For your safety, DIY maintenance beyond changing your air filter isn’t recommended. Contact the company before performing any maintenance to avoid injury or nullification of your service contract. 
 
The company should send a tech who will perform basic maintenance such as cleaning dust, dirt, and other debris out of the condenser coils and replace of your air filter. The tech should perform tests to ensure that the condenser still works properly, the fans blow and the Freon isn’t leaking out.
 
Faulty ductwork could be another culprit for warmer temps in spite of the best efforts of your AC unit. If by chance you have even small holes in your ductwork, you will lose some of the force your fan blows through the air vents in your home. And wasted energy is wasted money.
 
If the AC unit you have is better than 10 years old and you notice that it requires more and more maintenance each year, it’s likely you should be on the market for a new AC unit entirely. With any unit, schedule regular annual or even bi-annual checkups so that you won’t be melting like a snow cone in Phoenix over the summer.


 

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