Regular maintenance is a must for any air conditioning system. Without an annual visit from an HVAC professional (usually during the spring) to inspect and tune-up the system, an AC will start to rapidly decline, turning into an energy-waster that suffers from repeated malfunctions and even breakdowns.
Although it requires a professional to perform annual maintenance, there is an important maintenance job that you need to do on your own during the rest of the summer: once a month, replace or clean the air filter on your air conditioner. (If you don’t know where the air filter is, have your maintenance technician show you.)
The reason this is important
The air filter serves a crucial job in an AC: it prevents debris from coming through the return vents and entering the air conditioner’s cabinet, where it can cause system damage and affect efficiency. After a month of steady work during the summer, the filter will have enough dust, lint and other contaminants trapped in it that it will begin to limit airflow into the air conditioner.
A drop in airflow can have numerous negative consequences for an air conditioner. It will cause airflow throughout the system to turn sluggish, force the air conditioner to work harder and therefore cost more to run, and make the indoor coil freeze over. Eventually, the air conditioner will need serious repairs.
Fortunately, it’s easy to change the filter, or clean it if you have a permanent filter in place. Make sure that you do this once a month during the summer, and at any other time when the air conditioner runs on a regular basis. Remember to schedule maintenance each spring so a professional can help you with any other issues that the AC might have picked up during the many months that you need it working for you.