As with any important appliance, vehicle, or other important item in your life, maintenance is the key to the life and efficiency of your air conditioning system. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and thorough repairs when they are needed can help your air conditioning system work to its maximum efficiency and purpose.
There are many maintenance and repair jobs that can be done yourself, with the help of some thorough instructions and a few tools. Other jobs should be left to a professional, but how do you know when to call someone and when to do it yourself?
Routine and thorough inspections are one of the most important parts of maintaining your air conditioning system. Inspections should be performed twice a year. The changing of the seasons is usually the best reminder to inspect and service your air conditioning system.
Specific areas to inspect and what requires a call to a professional are:
Filers: Most everyone knows that you should change your filters every month or so, depending on the type of filters you use and your preferences. About twice yearly or more often, depending on whether or not they become visibly dirty or compacted, the ducts and vents need to be vacuumed and cleaned out. You can use household cleaning products, or a mix of vinegar and water does the trick perfectly. Make sure that all of the components are thoroughly dried before replacing the filters and vent doors.
Vents: Check all air vents around the house for signs of damage, and clean these as well.
Ducts: Your air conditioning system has a lot of exposed duct work. All of this should be inspected for signs of wear and tear, dents, and loose fittings. Keep a look out also for signs that air is escaping the ducts, such as dirt streaks. If you notice a lot of problems in the duct work, it is a good idea to call a professional to help identify and repair all of the issues.
Furnace: Carefully, turn on the furnace and actually look at the flame. It should burn blue and steady. If the flame is flickering and is red or orange, this could mean it is not working properly. If this occurs, call a professional to help you fix the furnace.
Thermostat: Open the thermostat and check for dust, which can cause it to lose function over time. Clean out any dust, hair, or other particles with a cotton swab.
Compressors: While you should always keep an eye on your outdoor air compressor to keep it free from falling leaves, branches, sticks, and other debris, you should closely inspect it at least twice a year. Look for dents, and take the cover off to check the blades for damage. If the blades are damaged, absolutely call a professional. It isn’t safe to replace the blades yourself.
Generally, these inspections can be made yourself, without the help of a professional. Most of what needs to be inspected is visible to the eye and you can make safe calculations about whether things look okay or not. If you have any doubts, or you notice any of the specified issues mentioned, call a professional to help you.