3 A/C Practices that Can Wreak Havoc on Your Cooling System
Your air conditioner should have a life span of 10 to 15 years, but some A/C practices can undermine your equipment’s operation, causing malfunctioning parts and eventual breakdowns. Avoid the practices discussed below.
Not Scheduling A/C Maintenance
One way to ensure inefficient operation and eventual breakdown of your A/C is to skimp on preventive maintenance. Most service calls are for air conditioners that don’t receive regular maintenance. Preventive maintenance isn’t typically expensive, and it can catch small problems before they become big problems.
A/C preventive maintenance should include cooling-specific tasks such as checking the refrigerant level, cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils, and cleaning and adjusting the blower as needed to maintain sufficient airflow for cooling.
A preventive maintenance visit should also include general HVAC system tasks such as checking electrical connections and thermostat settings; lubricating moving parts; and checking the condensate drain for obstructions. Schedule maintenance in the spring for the A/C and in the fall for the furnace.
Not Changing the Air Filter
Don’t change the air filter regularly and you’re almost assured of a short-lived A/C. A dirty filter impedes airflow, causing your cooling system compressor to work harder. Overworked compressors can fail, leading to an expensive repair or replacement. Change the filter more often than the manufacturer recommends if your home is dusty or if you have pets. Use a good quality air filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) between 8 and 12. Better air filters can catch most of the smallest pollutants.
Changing Settings Frequently
Turning the thermostat down so that the A/C runs continuously will overwork the parts and lead to a breakdown. Frequent thermostat setting changes will also strain the system as it tries to adjust to the higher and lower changes, possibly resulting in a breakdown.