Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist For Peak Home Efficiency
For over 18 years, I’ve been servicing, repairing, and installing air conditioning systems. John Cipollone Inc. is a family business in its third generation, and I’m proud to say that I’ve learned a great deal from my family, as well as continuing to go to classes and training seminars for HVAC technicians. Knowing everything we possibly can about HVAC technology allows us to be the best at what we do.
Regardless of the age of the air conditioning system of your home, every system can benefit from preventative maintenance. At John Cippolone, not only myself, but our expert technicians also have years of experience in servicing and installing air conditioners of every kind.
We sat down as a team to put together this AC Maintenance checklist to help you get the most out of your HVAC system in Haverford, PA, and really anywhere you run your AC in the summer.
How To Service Your Unit: Understanding Preventative HVAC Maintenance
It’s important to do regular preventative maintenance on your HVAC system each year. Heating and cooling systems move a lot of air through your home, and in the process, pick up a lot of mold, dust and particles that can build up and prevent your system from functioning at its best.
Just like you get regular oil changes to prolong the life of your car engine, regular maintenance and cleaning of your AC system with out AC System Maintenance Checklist will help your system last longer and keep you more comfortable!
Crafting an Effective HVAC Maintenance Plan
You can divide your AC and HVAC system maintenance plan into two groups- maintenance you should do regularly, and maintenance you should do annually. There are aspects of maintenance that you can perform on your own, such as replacing the air filter. There are other maintenance tasks that should be left up to the professionals.
Determining Optimal Maintenance Schedules
Knowing when to do certain tasks to keep your AC system functioning at its best will give you the optimal maintenance schedule. Factors include whether warm months have led to increased running time for your system- as run time is a factor in how frequently your system should be serviced.
For example, many businesses will see their systems run harder through the heat of the day than home systems and may need more regular checkups. However, if you are working from home, your system may have increased run times compared to your neighbors- and that will affect how often you should service your system.
Understanding HVAC System Complexity
HVAC systems vary in their level of complexity, and a licensed HVAC contractor, as we have here at John Cipollone Inc., can help you set up an optimal schedule for your system.
Estimating Average System Usage
There are a few ways to determine how often you use your system. The easiest way to determine how much your system is running is by installing a smart thermostat. Certain thermostats report back how often your system was used, and how much energy it consumed, and can even be programmed to fit your schedule.
If you don’t have a smart thermostat, try to account for how often you change the settings on your thermostat, and how much energy you use. You can usually track the increase or decrease in your energy consumption by looking at your energy bills. You generally use home appliances similarly every month (tv, lights, etc.), so the big fluctuations are most likely from your HVAC system. Take a look at your energy bills to see if the use has gone up more than in previous years.
Keeping Your HVAC System Running Smoothly
By having a service technician perform regular maintenance on your AC system, you are ensuring that your system runs smoothly. During a maintenance call, a technician will check all the components your system, getting ahead of an air conditioning repair.
If your system goes years without being serviced, the chances are those little problems can become bigger, and you may need an air conditioning replacement before you know it. An AC system should last for 10+ years, and we’ve even seen some get to 20. Without regular maintenance, a system could die prematurely, while also not ever performing up to its standards while you have it.
Make sure your system is clean and running as energy efficient as possible by scheduling maintenance at least once a season.
DIY AC Maintenance: How To Service Your AC Unit
Cleaning the Outdoor Unit (Condenser and Compressor)
Your outdoor AC Unit probably looks something like this- one or more “boxes” with fans and “stuff” inside. Here are the steps to take to do some DIY maintenance on your system yourself at home, to keep your AC unit running well:
Step 1 – Disconnect Power to the Unit
This means usually going to your electrical box and turning off the breaker for your HVAC system.
Step 2 – Remove Debris and Clear the Surrounding Area
Good air circulation is key fo your system to run wll, so you want to keep extra leaves, debris, grass, mulch etc. away from the units. Many homeowners try to disguise their units with landscaping, but if the plants are too close to the units, you’ll get lower performance!
Step 3 – Clean the AC Fins
The fins on the outside of the unit can get a lot of junk and dirt on them, and sometimes get bent. Try removing the gunk with a brush (do not use chemical solvents) or use an old dinner knife to reshpe any bent fins and scrape off gunk.
Step 4 – Clean the Condenser Fan
You can clean the condenser fan by wiping them down with a damp cloth and letting them dry in the sun. This is another place where leaves and debris can get lodged. You can also use a hose nozzle to rinse the fins to clean them- taking care not to get water on the fan motor. You might also check to see of your fan needs a little oil- electric motor oil is the only kind you should use- don’t get crazy with things like WD-40.
Cleaning the Indoor Unit (Evaporator and Blower)
Step 1 – Replace the Air Filter
You should be regularly replacing your air filter, every couple of months. If you have work done in your home- painting and drywall, tile, or floor work especially- these can create a LOT of dust and clog your filter- so be sure to change your filter after any home repairs!
Step 2 – Clean The Area Around the Unit
Just like the outside unit shouldn’t have anything blocking its airflow, the same goes for any indoor HVAC equipment. Make sure you have enough space around it so that any air can flow properly around it, and nothing will knock it down and damage the system.
Step 3 – Cleaning the Evaporator, AC Coils, and Blower
This may be a little more complicated than changing the air filter, but if you feel handy, you may want to give this a try. Cleaning the evaporator, AC coils, and the air blower will keep the airflow optimized, and also reduce the amount of gunk in your system, and in the air. Lots of times these components don’t get cleaned, and can start to build dirt and mold. We recommend bringing in a pro to knock this task out!
While it may be tempting to try DIY maintenance on your air conditioning system, we highly recommend leaving the more complex tasks to professionals. There are many components of your AC unit that require specialized knowledge and training to handle safely and correctly. Instead, focus on simple tasks like replacing the air filter and cleaning the outdoor unit. Leave the rest to the professionals.
Professional AC Maintenance Checklist
Outdoor Unit Checklist
– Inspect and clean the condenser unit
– Remove debris and vegetation around the outdoor unit
– Clean the condenser fins with a soft brush
– Check the fins for damage and straighten if necessary
– Inspect and clean the outdoor compressor
Indoor Unit Checklist
– Replace or clean the air filter
– Inspect and clean the evaporator coils
– Clean the drain pan and check the AC drain line for blockages
– Inspect and clean the air handler and its components
– Check the ductwork for leaks, damage, or buildup of dust and debris
Additional Maintenance Tasks
Inspect and Clean Drain Pans
We will ensure that the drain pans are free of debris and functioning properly to prevent blockage, water damage and mold growth.
Check Refrigerant Tubing and Levels
Technicians will inspect the refrigerant tubing for leaks and ensure proper refrigerant levels for optimal cooling performance.
Lubricate Blower and Condenser Fans
Regular lubrication of the blower and condenser fans helps to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on the components.
Inspect Electrical Wiring and Controls
A professional will examine and tighten all electrical connections, as well as test the controls and safety features.
Check Thermostat Functionality
Technicians will ensure that your thermostat is functioning correctly and programmed for energy-efficient operation.
Examine and Clean Air Registers and Ductwork (if needed)
Professionals will clean and inspect air registers, and clean or repair ductwork as needed to maintain good air quality and system efficiency. This is something that you can do for your vents. Also, be sure to push any furniture or blockers out of the way of your vents to allow airflow!
Scheduling Regular Inspections and Maintenance
Handling Electrical Issues
Professional maintenance includes addressing potential electrical problems that could lead to system failure or safety hazards.
Addressing Compressor Short-Cycling
Technicians will identify and resolve issues causing your compressor to short-cycle, which can reduce efficiency and wear out components.
Importance of Annual HVAC Maintenance
Lower Repair Costs
Regular maintenance can help identify issues early on, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs.
Reduced Utility Bills
A well-maintained air conditioning system runs more efficiently, which translates to lower energy bills. The longer you go without service, the more your energy bills tend to creep up.
Avoiding System Breakdowns
Routine maintenance helps prevent unexpected breakdowns, ensuring reliable and consistent cooling.
Prolonging Equipment Lifespan
Proper care and maintenance can extend the life of your AC system, saving you money in the long run. As we mentioned, an AC system should last for 10 years at least. Without regular AC maintenance, you could be costing yourself years for your system.
Ensuring Safe System Operation
Regular professional maintenance ensures your AC system operates safely, reducing the risk of hazards like electrical fires or refrigerant leaks.
Maintaining Your Warranty
Most warranties require regular servicing of your HVAC system by a professional. If you fail to have your new system serviced, you could run the risk of voiding your warranty, and then being stuck when a repair is needed.
Air Conditioner Servicing FAQs
What is the preventative maintenance schedule for an AC?
The preventative maintenance schedule for an AC should be a professional service at least once a year, preferably in the Spring or beginning of Summer. A service plan helps you stay on top of routine maintenance for your HVAC systems.
How do I service my AC myself?
To service your AC yourself, you can change your air filters, hose off your outdoor unit, and make sure no leaves and sticks have gotten into your system. For anything more comprehensive, we recommend calling in a professional to service your air conditioning system.
How do I clean the inside of my air conditioner?
To clean the inside of your air conditioner, remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris that may have gotten into your system. Next, take a hose and rinse the system off. Clean any buildup of dirt, and make sure the fins are straight and clean!
Is it OK to spray water on your air conditioner while it’s running?
We recommend spraying your air conditioner with water while it is not running. Your AC can get wet, after all, it does rain on your AC. Still, spraying it with water while it’s running is less effective, and you can get water in components it shouldn’t be.
How do I keep my AC drain lines clearer?
To keep your AC drain lines clearer, you can use drain line tabs, or vinegar, to kill any mold or mildew growing in them. You can also use a drain line clearer tool to blow any dirt or debris out of there!
What happens if my AC is not used for a long time?
If your AC is not used for a long time it should be fine. Air conditioners are designed to go months in between usage, and then run for a while. We recommend a regular service if your AC hasn’t run in a while. AC repair services in Haverford, PA
Call John Cipollone, Inc. at (610) 446-7877 to speak with your trusted AC repair services in Haverford, PA.