During the hot summer months, a central air conditioning system can be a lifesaver in our homes. It provides cool relief from the heat and gives us an escape from the sweltering outdoors. That said, it’s also an extremely important system to care for properly. Many disregard proper maintenance or ignore warning signs when care is needed on these systems. As we mentioned in a recent post, improper maintenance can lead to a great deal of noise coming from these systems, which can not only lead to annoyance, but also a breakdown of functionality. There are some smaller things homeowners can do to care for their cooling system on a regular basis. For larger problems or maintenance, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.

As you probably know, especially if you have a central air conditioning unit in your home, most of these systems are connected to the same forced-air distribution system that runs your home’s heat. So, some of the same maintenance and issues that can arise are the same as heating system maintenance and care. To keep your system working at peak efficiency, there are a number of steps that should be taken—both annually and on an ongoing long-term basis.

While it’s true that professionals should be called in for most maintenance when it comes to air conditioning systems, there are a few things that homeowners can do themselves to ensure their units are in proper working order for as long as possible. First and perhaps foremost, homeowners should always keep up to date on filter replacement. Replacing or cleaning air filters in the system every 1-3 months, depending on the type of system and filter used, is the best way for individuals to maximize the efficiency of the cool unit. Another step homeowners can take is to check the insulation on the refrigerant lines of the cooling unit. Insufficient or damaged insulation can greatly impact the overall performance and efficiency of the air conditioning unit. A third, often overlooked, maintenance step homeowners can take with their cooling systems is to ensure the areas around outdoor units are kept clear of plants and debris. If these outdoor units are not kept clear, airflow into the system can be greatly reduced. This makes the job of the entire system much more difficult, which can lead to lower efficiency, higher bills and more required maintenance down the road.

Aside from “everyday” or individual maintenance homeowners can do themselves, most cooling units and systems require professional maintenance to maximize their lives and efficiency. Professionals can take a number of measures that aren’t common knowledge or don’t fall within the capabilities of the typical homeowner. One such maintenance step is cleaning the coils in the unit. While homeowners should be responsibility from keep the area around the unit clear, cleaning the unit’s coils is hugely important to its maintenance and overall efficiency. This cleaning clears debris, dirt and other buildup from inside the unit. Another step is to check the refrigerant in the system for proper refrigerant charge. Ensuring proper charge of the unit will help the system produce the best levels of cool air in the home. A system should always have a proper balance of charge. If the charge is too low or too high, major problems can arise. Low or high charge will cause problems such as poor performance, ice buildup, compressor damage, or acid burnout in the system. Professionals like our team at BelRed can fully and carefully inspect the entire system to ensure maximum efficiency and output of your cooling system. Assessments can often uncover issues that need repair or better maintenance and get them addressed before a major problem occurs. Early detection of these issues can often help mitigate larger, more expensive problems down the road.

If you have a central air conditioning unit, it’s a good idea to establish an ongoing relationship with an established contractor and service provider. We can help determine areas of improvement and repair for your existing unit or make educated suggestions when it comes time for a system upgrade. We want to ensure you are getting the most for your money when it comes to keeping your home and loved ones comfortable. Please feel to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding keeping your home cool.

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