If you're like many homeowners, you may put off any repairs or service calls for your air conditioner until the unit actually stops working altogether. This may seem like a cost-effective choice, but it can actually mean paying more money for repair bills down the road. Maintaining your air conditioner regularly is like maintaining your car; it can protect the major parts from excessive wear and tear and alert you to needed replacement of defective parts before they cause major damage. Note a few questions you might have about air conditioner maintenance and discuss these with a contractor so you know your unit is always in good repair.
1. How often should the filter be changed and why is this important?
You should inspect your air conditioner's filter at least monthly and then change it according to the manufacturer's recommendations; this will depend on how often you actually run your unit. The air filter in your unit should always be clean and fresh, as a dirty and clogged filter can keep the unit's airflow from running optimally. This puts added wear and tear on the motor and all the parts of the unit. It can also mean circulating particles not caught by a dirty filter through the air, so that the air you breathe is not as clean as it should be.
2. Why address a Freon leak if it's very small?
Freon is not very healthy for the environment, so you don't want to ignore even a small leak. Additionally, a Freon leak means that the compressor of your air conditioner will work harder to cool air, and in turn, you may see it fail earlier than it should. A Freon leak will also reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner so you may run it longer and more often than you would otherwise. Regular maintenance can alert you to problems with connectors and other parts that may allow the Freon to leak out so you can avoid this problem in the first place.
3. Can covering the unit outdoors reduce the maintenance it will need?
Providing a barrier for the unit outdoors so that leaves, twigs, and other debris don't get caught on the condenser can protect it, but note that you don't want to put an actual cover on the unit. This will trap hot air along the condenser and cause it to work harder. Rather than avoiding maintenance, you may then see the unit fail sooner than it should.
For more tips on air conditioner maintenance, contact a local HVAC company.