One of the most important aspects of your home is the climate and temperature. If you can’t keep your home cool during the summer, the best-case scenario is that you live uncomfortably. In homes with children and the elderly, the heat can become a serious health issue.
It’s important to learn the proper way to care for your individual home’s cooling system. In most cases, a breakdown can be avoided if the unit is maintained correctly.
The two common types of AC units.
Depending on the size of your home, you’ll likely either have window units to cool individual parts of your home or central cooling that cools throughout your home. A central cooling system has a lifespan between 15-20 years, while a window unit has an average lifespan of 10 years.
The biggest difference is that central cooling requires ductwork to connect components from the inside to outside the home. This is also the more expensive option and is best for large spaces. Window units are cheaper and best for smaller spaces.
Tips for taking care of your window AC unit.
When caring for individual window units, be sure to clean their filters. Most units require you to rinse and dry a removable filter. If you replace the filter before it’s dry, it could collect ice and damage the unit, so if you’re feeling impatient in the summer heat, try using a hair dryer to speed things up.
You may also want to use a cloth or vacuum to check for dirt and debris around the evaporator coils. This is a part of the air conditioner close to the filter and helps with air flow. The better you clean your AC, the less allergens you’ll allow into your home from outside.
Be sure to store your unit horizontally, the same as it would be placed in the window, or else you can damage the compressor. If an air conditioner is stored on its side, it likely won’t work come summer time.
In the end, most common problems – even with a window unit air conditioner – require help from an HVAC expert.
Tips for taking care of your central cooling system.
Most central air conditioners have a split system, which means there will be an indoor coil and an outdoor condenser connected by ducts. Some central air conditioners are actually HVAC units, which stands for “heat, ventilation, and air conditioning.”
For homes with central cooling, as the homeowner, you should be sure to keep foliage away from the outside component of the system so that growth doesn’t clog the grills. You should also check that the ducts in your home are sealed and not letting air escape. You may notice an especially high bill if your ducts are leaking.
You will likely want to have your central air cooling system serviced annually by an expert. The beginning of summer is the best time to maintain the central air conditioner. A maintenance technician will run through maintenance checks, including:
- Changing filters
- Cleaning coils
- Maintaining the drainage system
- Replacing the refrigerant
Just a few more AC efficiency tips.
In either case, whether you are caring for a window unit or a central cooling unit, setting the thermostat ahead of time will save on your bill. One study found that nearly 90% of Americans say they rarely program their thermostat. Take the time to review your owner’s manual and set it to go on during times of the day you’ll be home and to shut off during times of the day you’re either at work or sleeping