Air Conditioner Summer Maintenance and Performance Tips

This spring has felt like summer! Each year, it seems Calgarians are using their air conditioning systems earlier and earlier – and running them longer. Instead of just July and August, many homeowners are now using their A/C units from April to October.

All of that extra use puts added strain on your A/C unit. This is why annual maintenance is becoming more and more important. So, when it comes to maintenance, what can you do yourself – and what should you leave to the pros? Let’s start with the basics.

Make sure your furnace filter is clean.

Your central air conditioner piggybacks off your furnace to push the cool air through your home. While you’re running your A/C, the air must pass through your furnace filter, where dust allergens and other debris are removed (depending on the grade of your filter).

If your filter is dirty, it makes it extremely hard for the cool air to pass through. This will put added strain on your furnace blower, shortening the life span of the motor and reducing energy efficiency. Additionally, restricted airflow can be a contributing factor that can cause the Evaportator Coil to freeze. If this happens, the A/C will be prevented from cooling your home.

Unless you suffer from severe allergies, we recommend using a lighter-duty furnace filter with a lower Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR) during the summer months. This will improve airflow to keep your house nice and cool.

Open upstairs vents. Close the basement vents.

The heat register vents throughout your home can be adjusted to allow more or less air to flow into the room. Double-check that all the vents are open in the main floor and upstairs rooms that you wish to cool.

If you find one room is too cold for your liking, you can fully or partially close these vents.

Since your basement is naturally cool, closing these vents off is a good idea. This will direct the cool air to the upper floors.

Try not to keep too many heat registers closed. If too many are closed, it can reduce the airflow through the furnace and over the A/C Evaporator coil. As mentioned above, this can cause the coil to freeze and stop the A/C from working.

Keep windows closed.

Let your air conditioner do the work to cool your home. If you open your windows on a hot day, you are simply letting the cool air escape and inviting the warm air inside… which is counterproductive.

Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit

The condenser unit is the large fan that sits at the side of your home. The inside fins can become clogged with dust, pollen, bugs and other debris. You can clean it yourself or have a professional do it as part of an Air Conditioning Tune-Up appointment.

To do it yourself:

  • Turn off power to your A/C
  • Remove the cover on the outdoor condenser unit (if applicable)
  • Clear any debris around the condenser
  • Use a garden hose to gently rinse condenser coils using a shower setting. DO NOT use the jet setting, as that could damage the fins.

Or call a professional:

Why take the risk of damaging your A/C unit? Leave the work to an air conditioning professional, such as Advanpro.

A trained technician will inspect all key components (evaporator, condenser and wiring). They will inspect and test all switches, circuits and sensors, while measuring and recording power and temperatures. Finally, they will clean the condenser, top up coolant levels and make any necessary adjustments.

Set it and forget it.

The electricity consumed by your A/C unit is less than you may expect. The cost savings of only running A/C on select days could be as little at $20 per month – compared to letting it run consistently at your desired set point. The benefit of keeping the unit running all summer is your home is always comfortable. You will not need to run it for hours to return your home to the desired temperature after it has been off for a while.

Enjoy your air conditioner for years to come.

When properly maintained, your central air conditioner will provide years and years of reliable performance – so you can keep your cool on the hottest days.

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