An air conditioning breakdown fries a finely tuned summer schedule faster than you can say "pass the lemonade." It only takes two ingredients to prevent the majority of cooling system failures: an annual preventive maintenance check and some DIY AC maintenance each month. Dishing out routine maintenance helps your system run more efficiently and last longer.
Annual Preventive Maintenance
One of the best things you can do for your HVAC system is to schedule an annual preventive maintenance check with a Comfort24-7 HVAC service provider. These appointments are affordable and convenient, and they can often head off bigger repair issues that could lead to a breakdown. During a seasonal tune-up, a certified HVAC technician goes over the equipment systematically to look for any problems. The service checklist typically includes:
- cleaning the coils, fans and other components.
- checking the refrigerant level and refill if needed.
- inspecting the system for worn parts and loose connections.
- looking for clogs in the drain lines.
- evaluating the airflow and checking the thermostat.
After the technician has carefully cleaned and inspected the equipment, you will receive a complete report on the status of your system. If any parts are looking worn out, you'll have the chance to make the repair before an inconvenient shutdown happens. Your tech will also answer any questions that you have about efficiency and system maintenance.
DIY AC Maintenance
Take charge of your cooling system by performing some DIY AC maintenance in between your annual service appointments. It takes a pro to check the refrigerant, look for worn components and clear the drain lines, but there are a few things you can do yourself to help extend the life of your equipment, lower your cooling costs and reduce the chances of a breakdown. If you aren't sure how to perform these tasks, refer to the system owner's manual or ask your HVAC tech to show you what to do.
Change the Filter
A dirty, clogged air filter restricts airflow and forces your cooling system to work harder than it should. Over time, this can lead parts to wear out sooner and can bring higher energy bills as the equipment operates less efficiently. Clean or change your air filter monthly during the summer. Disposable filters are easy to switch out, but be sure to check the size before buying a replacement. Reusable filters generally require a quick vacuuming to remove loose dirt and then a thorough cleaning with a hose or in a tub of water. To minimize the risk of mold, don't reinstall the filter until it is totally dry.
Keep Vents Clear
Your home decorating choices could be affecting your cooling system. If drapes, furniture or other items are blocking your vents, your equipment can't operate at its best. Additionally, while you might think that you can save money by closing vents in unused areas of your home, this change in airflow could bring unintended consequences, including a buildup of condensation. Instead, keep all of your vents open just enough to allow some air to blow into the room. Most of the cooling power will be focused where you want it, but air will continue to move properly through the ducts and throughout the home.
Outdoor AC Maintenance
Another way to be proactive in maintaining your air conditioner is to pay attention to the outdoor unit. Trim back shrubs to avoid blocking airflow. Clear away dead leaves and grass clippings that can clog the unit. Mow and edge carefully to avoid flinging stones at the equipment. You can also spray the unit with a garden hose to remove visible dirt, but you'll need to contact a professional to thoroughly clean the coils and service the system.
Know When to Call a Pro
Summers can be unbearably hot and humid in Chicagoland, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. It's uncomfortable and may even be unsafe to be without a cooling system for too long. Though you can perform some maintenance tasks yourself, it's important to know when to call for help. Contact your neighborhood Comfort24-7 HVAC professional for help when:
- the AC is blowing warm air.
- the unit won't turn on at all.
- bad smells are coming out of the vents.
- the system is making unusual noises.
- the unit has tripped the breaker or is only working intermittently.
- water is dripping from the secondary drain line.
- the system hasn't been serviced in more than a year.
- you want information on setting up a preventative maintenance plan.
Choose a Comfort24-7 Dealer
Our Comfort24-7 network of HVAC professionals specializes in preventive maintenance and offers emergency AC repairs around the clock in Chicagoland, the surrounding suburbs, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Every neighborhood dealer meets the highest standards for professionalism and expertise, so your comfort is guaranteed. Ask your Comfort24-7 dealer about setting up a budget-friendly preventative maintenance plan to help you protect your AC equipment for years to come. Your air conditioner can't continue running smoothly, efficiently and reliably without a little TLC. Make sure you have a Comfort24-7 expert on your side.