Nothing can ruin an entire week like unexpected air conditioner failure. Everything was going great, then, suddenly, the A/C stops working and the whole family gets crabby. It’s hard to be happy about life when you’re sweating yourself to sleep every night. Plus, who wants to pay a costly repair bill? Ugh.
Air Conditioner Failure – Stop It Before It Starts
Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to keep your system running smoothly for years to come.
Check Air Filters Monthly
The single most important thing you can do to keep your air conditioner functional is to check and clean your air filters. Those filters are not designed for you. Yes, they do clean interior air. Yes, that can be good for your health. Again, no, they were not designed with you, presumably a human, in mind.
Air conditioner air filters are designed to keep dust, dirt, and debris away from the sensitive interior components like the evaporator coil. Dirty coils corrode faster, reduce operating efficiency, and make the unit work harder to keep your home comfortable. Those factors can all build up to a colossal mechanical failure.
You, obviously, want to prevent that. Check your filters once per month, minimum. Check it even more if you have a lot of pets or a large family. If the filter is so dirty that you can’t see through it, you need to clean or replace it. Making this simple step a regular habit will keep your unit running efficiently while it helps you avoid a big air conditioner failure down the road.
Pre- & Post-Season Cleaning
Imagine that you leave your car sitting outside for six months. One day you decide you need to drive it somewhere. Are you going to just jump behind the driver’s wheel, start it up, and expect everything to go smoothly? Or are you going to check the car to make sure the tires haven’t gone flat and that a family of badgers hasn’t taken up residence in the trunk?
I really hope you’d at least give the thing a quick glance before you expect it to run.
Your air conditioner is like that car. It sits unused all winter. Bad weather can deposit leaves, sticks, and debris inside the cabinet and clogging the coils. Before you turn the unit on to keep you cool during the summer, you should give your air conditioner a quick clean up. We go into detail about how to do that elsewhere. Rest assured that the cleaning process is not very complicated.
You also want to make sure you clean the unit before you let it sit all winter long. Summer thunderstorms and high wind can dirty up the condenser in the same way bad winter weather can. Plus, a little weatherization will make things easier come springtime.
So, why bother with all this cleaning? Keeping the exterior condenser free of contaminants will keep it running more efficiently and prevent premature air conditioner failure. This step is not less important than periodic filter inspection, but you only have to do it twice a year.
You’re a heating and air expert, right? You’d be able to spot all the small signs that point to a big air conditioner failure coming, right? No?
Well, it sounds like you need to schedule regular, annual maintenance for your unit. Many local HVAC contractors will perform this service for a reasonable fee. They come out to your house, inspect the unit, and make sure everything looks good for the upcoming cooling season. These are the experts that can spot a problem before it grows out of control, and you only need them to do it once per year.
See, I Told You It Was Easy
And that’s pretty much it. Check your filters regularly, keep the condenser clean, and schedule a maintenance inspection once per year. If you do those three simple things, you will ensure a much longer and failure-free air conditioner life.