Top 10 Tips to Prevent Air Conditioning Problems

There’s absolutely nothing worse than dealing with a broken air conditioner in the middle of a heatwave. The first signs of an imminent breakdown may be understated—strange noises, odd smells or decreased cooling. Before you know it, these seemingly slight issues escalate into full-blown malfunctions. However, with a touch of preparation and regular maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running effortlessly. Here are 10 tips to protect against AC problems this summer.

1. Replace the Air Filter Regularly

One easy yet effective tip is to look at the air filter each month and replace it if it's dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter facilitates smooth airflow, improves indoor air quality and enhances air conditioning efficiency. A plugged or dirty filter, on the other hand, makes your AC work more than it ought to, which might contribute to breakdowns.

2. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean and Unobstructed

The outdoor AC unit needs enough space to intake and exhaust air effectively. Regularly check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or sticks. Then, cut back all the plants growing within 12 inches of the unit. These actions can avert AC problems and encourage optimal performance.

3. Check the Condensate Drain Pan

An air conditioner doesn’t simply cool the air—it also takes out extra humidity. This moisture is collected in the condensate drain pan and then flows down the drain line. These elements can get obstructed over time, causing leaks and increasing the likelihood of water damage. Regularly inspect the drain pan and line for clogs to avert these AC issues.

4. Listen for Strange Noises or Smells

Your air conditioner for the most part operates with a soft, steady hum. If you hear abnormal grinding, screeching or hissing, you can bet something’s amiss. Similarly, if you notice unusual electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can be a sign of a number of AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and must be addressed promptly.

5. Keep Your Vents Open

While closing vents in vacant rooms may seem like a good idea, doing so forms pressure imbalances and lowers system efficiency. To prevent cooling system problems, keep at least 80 percent of your return and supply vents open and free of obstruction by furniture, rugs and curtains.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are intuitive devices that enhance your air conditioning system's operation and reduce the chance of problems. Once you program your temperature schedule, you can sit back and unwind while your thermostat does the heavy lifting. Smart models are even more effective, allowing you to check and adjust your home’s temperature when you aren't home or even manage the settings with your voice.

7. Check Your Attic Insulation

Air conditioner efficiency doesn’t merely entail the unit’s mechanics. Adequate insulation is also crucial for maintaining a comfortable interior, blocking warm air from seeping in and cold air leaking out. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation to an existing home, so glance inside the hatch to see if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If not, you may want to add more insulation to enjoy substantial energy savings and prevent straining your AC.

8. Avoid Heat-Generating Activities in the Afternoon

Operating the oven, stove or clothes dryer when the sun is blazing dramatically increases your AC unit’s workload. When possible, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to minimize99 unneeded AC activity. When preparing dinner in the summer, consider reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating uncooked meals like sandwiches and salads, or barbecuing outside on the backyard grill.

9. Run a Ceiling Fan

While a ceiling fan can’t replace an air conditioning system, it can absolutely work in conjunction with it. Ceiling fans generate a wind chill effect that makes your room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This extra comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, reducing the workload on your air conditioning system and potentially staving off AC problems. Just remember to power down the fan when you exit the space. After all, the wind chill effect cools people, but it doesn’t lower the temperature in the room.

10. Schedule Annual AC Maintenance

Regular AC tune-ups are a proactive measure aimed at identifying and fixing little issues before they intensify into serious problems. A once yearly check by a qualified HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner for summer, saving you from undesirable breakdowns and costly repairs by ensuring your AC is working optimally.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for Air Conditioner Service in Gainesville

Now that you know the top strategies to prevent air conditioner problems, you can follow these steps to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Whether you need to schedule a preventative tune-up or emergency AC repair, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has you covered. We are focused on providing comprehensive and efficient maintenance, repairs and installations to fulfill all your cooling needs. For reliable AC services in your area, call 352-414-4006 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.

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