Air conditioners work hard, so it comes as no surprise when older air conditioners struggle to maintain functionality and efficiency. As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to keep your old air conditioner in proper working order. Performing these tasks regularly can help you take care of your old air conditioner and may extend its service life by months or years.
Change the Air Filter
Found between the blower and the return air duct, the air filter cleans the air that flows through your air conditioner. This filter prevents buildup from forming on the air conditioner and in the ducts, thus making it easier for your air conditioner to do its job.
The US Department of Energy recommends replacing your air filter every 3 months. To replace the filter, turn off the power to the HVAC system and remove the old filter from the slot. Take the old filter to the home improvement center to find a suitable replacement. Once you have a new filter, you can throw away the old one. Put the new filter in the slot and turn on the HVAC system again.
Clean the Condenser
Your air conditioner works by absorbing heat from inside the house and then releasing the heat into the air behind the house. This is why you’ll notice the air conditioner condenser blowing warm air into the yard on days when it’s turned on.
The condenser coils, found just inside the condenser, must stay clean in order to function properly. If the coils become dirty, it becomes harder for the unit to release warm air into the yard. Thus, dirty coils reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner and can shorten its service life.
Cleaning the coils is an easy task for most homeowners and should be done once a year to keep the unit functioning properly. To clean the coils, follow this procedure:
- Turn off power to the unit. You can do by cutting the power through the panel box.
- Remove the lid from the top of the condenser. You may need a screw driver to do this.
- Vacuum out any debris inside the condenser. Use a wet-dry vacuum to vacuum leaves, weeds, sticks and other small things that might be inside the air conditioner condenser.
- Spray the inside of the condenser with a hose. This will help clean the debris off of the coils. If the coils remain dirty, use coil cleaner and a soft brush to get the rest of the dirt off. When you’re done cleaning the coils, spray them with a strong jet of water from a hose to rinse them off.
- Put the condenser back in proper working condition. Replace the cover on the condenser, then turn on the condenser to ensure that it’s still working properly.
This task should be completed once a year in the beginning of the spring, just before the cooling season.
Control the Temperature
You can reduce your HVAC system use by as much as 10% just by raising or lowering your thermostat. In summer, the US Department of Energy recommends keeping your home’s temperature at 78 degrees. This is a low enough temperature that you should be able to stay comfortable, but it’s high enough to reduce the burden on your air conditioner.
Arrange for Regular Tune-ups
Have an HVAC contractor come check out your old air conditioner at least once each year! Your HVAC contractor can identify issues before they become serious and can make recommendations for repair as needed.
To find out more about how you can keep your old air conditioner functioning, contact Help Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We have many tips that can help you keep your air conditioner in good repair.