Maintaining Your Air Conditioning System: Avoid Costly Repairs

Keeping your air conditioning system in top shape is essential for efficient operation and to avoid costly repairs. The most important maintenance task is to replace or clean your filters regularly. Dirty, clogged filters can reduce the amount of air flow and significantly decrease system efficiency. Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can reduce air conditioner energy consumption by 5% to 15%.It is clear that operating a more efficient air conditioning system will cost less.

If you need to switch to an air conditioner unit with a SEER rating higher than 16, it's best to upgrade the oven simultaneously. Look for the minimum filter efficiency value, or MERV, which ranges from 1 to 12 for domestic air conditioning units; the higher the number, the better the filtration (and the more energy it will take to extract air through the filter, so balance air quality issues with energy costs).Ducts can lose up to 30 percent of airflow due to leaks, and window air conditioning units are notoriously difficult to seal properly. Find leaks using the old “smoke trick”. The air compressor and condenser in a central air conditioning system are usually outside the house, close to the foundation.

It works best when there's around 24 inches of free space in all directions, so get rid of nearby shrubs, tall grass, leaves, and hanging branches. Federal laws require air conditioning units to be much more efficient than they were just 10 years ago. For central air conditioning, look for the seasonal energy efficiency index, or SEER; for window units, the measurement is simply called the energy efficiency index, or EER. The standards require a SEER of 13 and an EER of 8, but devices with higher numbers will cost less to operate. When the central air conditioning service fails during a heat wave, you may have to wait days for an HVAC repair technician to arrive and you'll probably pay at least several hundred dollars for the repair. The National Association of Air Duct Cleaners recommends cleaning air ducts about once every 3 to 5 years.

Regular maintenance helps avoid expensive HVAC repairs and ensures that all components are cleaned and inspected and will work in the best possible way, avoiding expensive energy bills.

Deborah Waisman
Deborah Waisman

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