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The ABCs Of Preventative Maintenance

By: Sean Adams
Copyright (c) 2014 Service Alert Air Conditioning & Heating

As the summer cooling season arrives, some homeowners may notice poor performance issues from their air conditioning systems. Because the equipment seems to work correctly, they may attribute problems to aging equipment. However, a combination of professional and at home AC maintenance can make a huge difference in household comfort control. You may wonder, Why schedule preventative maintenance? After all, you change your air filter faithfully. However, it's important to note that your system can lose as much as 5 percent efficiency each year, an issue that can be countered by annual AC service.

What Is Regular Air Conditioner Maintenance?

Maintenance of any mechanical equipment is sensible for ensuring that moving parts are intact and that operation is in accordance with manufacturer standards. Ignoring your vehicle's need for fresh oil and clean air and fuel filters can be detrimental, and the same is true of your home comfort system. An annual tune-up allows your equipment to be adjusted and cleaned so that optimum performance levels can be achieved.

The ABCs Of Preventative Maintenance

Some tasks are your responsibility. For example, you need to be sure that your filter is regularly changed. An air filter removes airborne particles from circulation, protecting the interior of your air handling unit so that air can move without restriction and so that the energy exchange needed to cool your home can occur efficiently. Your indoor air quality is also enhanced by a clean filter. You need to install a fresh filter prior to initiating use of your system for spring air circulation or for summer cooling. Check your filter at least once a month to be sure that a replacement isn't needed.

Professional Maintenance Of Your Cooling System

The more intricate components of your cooling equipment should be handled by a certified air conditioning technician. An AC tune-up checklist includes the examination and adjustment of various parts, and attempting these steps on your own can create safety issues or cause damage. Tune-up tasks include:
Inspection of condenser unit and air handler
Cleaning of indoor and outdoor coils
Testing and cleaning of drain lines
Cleaning of drain panInspection, adjustment and lubrication of blower parts
Testing of refrigerant charge
Inspection and tightening of electric connections
Evaluation of compressor and fan amp drawInspection and calibration of thermostat as needed
Testing of airflow at registers
Visual evaluation of accessible ductwork
As your technician works through these steps, he will advise you of any significant damage, allowing you the opportunity to schedule needed repairs prior to seasonal use of your equipment.

Why Schedule Preventative Maintenance?

There are several important benefits of regular AC tune-ups. A system that is serviced annually is less likely to experience malfunctions during the cooling season. Homeowners can reduce their risk of repair needs by up to 95 percent through regular service. Additionally, an optimized system may last longer than a neglected system. Dirty coils, refrigerant leaks and other problems can stress your compressor, often the most expensive part of your cooling system. The average lifespan for an AC system is 14 years, and neglect of your equipment can shorten that time, leading to expensive replacement costs earlier than necessary.

Savings With AC Maintenance

By addressing issues on an AC tune-up checklist, you can counter the annual efficiency loss of your equipment. In extreme cases, a neglected cooling system can use an excessive amount of energy, causing high bills and poor comfort levels. Some common areas of expense include:
Dirty coils - inside coils can develop a thick, grimy layer that keeps refrigerant from drawing heat from the inside air so that cooling action in the home can occur. Outside coils release heat less efficiently when dirt buildup isn't addressed. These two areas together can add 30 percent to the energy required to cool your home.
Refrigerant problems - low refrigerant impedes proper cooling activity and stresses the compressor. A shortfall of 10 percent in your refrigerant charge can equate to approximately 20 percent more energy usage for cooling activity. Additionally, failing to correct a refrigerant leak can lead to an eventual loss of all refrigerant. As Freon supplies dwindle, this can lead to even greater expenses for an older system.
Poor airflow in ducts - leaky ducts can cause energy loss to increase and home comfort levels to decrease. Duct damage can account for 20 to 40 percent of cooling costs while also creating health and safety problems in your home.

Service Plans Provide

Maintenance plans can provide even greater benefits as you resolve your question, What is regular air conditioner maintenance? Your local AC provider may offer a maintenance program to ensure that your tune-up is completed each year in a timely manner. Additionally, they may offer priority emergency service and seasonal specials to their maintenance program customers. Contact your local AC provider for an appointment.

Tags : ABCs ,Preventative ,Maintenance ,system ,cooling ,equipment ,refrigerant ,Maintenance ,percent ,filter ,coils ,maintenance
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Article Number : 213811
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Last Updated September 15, 2014

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