The thought of returning home to a malfunctioning AC on a hot, humid day fills most homeowners with dread. A poorly maintained system is unreliable and can fall apart anytime.

Responsible homeowners abide by the golden rule- take care of your AC, and it will take good care of you.

According to the US EIA, air conditioning accounts for around 17 percent of the energy used in an average American home. No wonder families are always on the lookout for ways to improve air conditioning efficiency.

There are simple things to take care of the right way in order to get the most out of your A/C. Have your contractor look at your system at least once every year, move swiftly to address cooling problems, and inculcate good usage habits.

Before you create a maintenance strategy for your A/C, go through this list of factors that affect AC performance.

Unit Size

Wannot emphasize enough the importance of choosing the right size AC for your home. An A/C unit with a lower than required capacity will fail to meet your home’s cooling needs. On the other hand, an oversized unit will consume more electricity than usual and cycle too often.

When determining the right size AC for your home, consider your home’s layout, size, and design.

Consider whether your house has high ceilings and an open floor plan. The placement of ceiling fans and other air circulation systems is another critical factor to consider.

Whether You Have Pets

Pets, especially cats and dogs, shed a lot. Pet hair along with dust, dirt, dander, and other contaminants clog A/C filters. If you have pets at home, your AC’s filter may clog sooner than usual. To prevent performance and airflow issues, change your filters every 30 days.

Pet hair can also clog up AC drains. If your pooch or cat sheds a lot, you would want to inspect and clean your AC drains more frequently than usual (bi-annually).

Duct Condition

Ducts transport the conditioned air throughout your home. If your ducts are clogged or in poor condition, your AC can’t distribute air effectively.

Ducts can develop leaks and accumulate dust over time. Unclean or leaky ductwork will affect the efficiency of your air conditioning system. If you ignore unclean ducts, your energy bills will rise sharply. Your A/C will have to work harder and longer. The resultant stress can cut short your AC’s service life.

To prevent issues, check your AC ducts regularly for leaks. In addition to scheduling A/C maintenance once every year, have your contractor inspect your ductwork periodically. During an inspection session, your contractor will look for and patch holes and clean out severe build-up.

Your System’s Age

Every device comes with an expiration date, and an AC is no exception. The parts of an AC wear out over time. An old AC will not just use more electricity than usual but will need frequent repairs.

With proper care and maintenance, an AC can last 10 years. If your AC is on its last legs, replace it before things go from bad to worse.

If you are confused about whether your AC needs repairs or must be replaced, consult your contractor. The professional will conduct several tests and inspect different parts to assess your AC’s health. Based on their findings, the professional will suggest the best course of action.

Poor Insulation

Poor insulation puts extra stress on your AC, forcing it to work harder and longer than expected to maintain a comfortable temperature. To prevent conditioned air from escaping your home through leaks, insulate your attic. Add insulation to drafty windows.

Maintenance Frequency

Like all other household equipment, your AC needs regular maintenance. Ignoring A/C maintenance can be a costly mistake. Your AC may develop a problem and stop working one hot, humid summer night.

Depending on the seriousness of the issue, you may have to spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars to revive your AC. In the worst-case scenario, irreversible damage could occur, rendering the system useless.

To prevent issues:

  • Have your contractor inspect and maintain your A/C at least once a year (preferably before summer).
  • Stick to your maintenance plan even if you do not notice any signs of A/C problems.
  • Remember, some signs of cooling problems are less evident than others.

A trained A/C technician can diagnose and address such problems.

Regular maintenance gives your contractor opportunities to diagnose and nip problems in the bud.

What’s Included in an A/C Tune-Up?

During a maintenance session, your contractor will:

  • Check and tighten electrical components
  • Inspect and clean condensate drain line
  • Lubricate moving parts
  • Test the thermostat for proper operation and calibration
  • Inspect bearings for wear and tear
  • Check service valves to make sure they are working correctly
  • Test contractors for burned or pitted contacts
  • Flush the condensate drain
  • Clean or replace air filters
  • Inspect and test capacitors

John Owens Services, Inc. is a leading HVAC company in Santa Rosa. We are committed to helping our customers get the most out of their heating and cooling systems. Whatever your problem, we will get to the root of it and eliminate it. To schedule an inspection, call 707-207-8592.

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