How To Keep Your Cool All Summer Long
Now is a great time to give your air conditioning unit (or heat pump) some preventive maintenance--before you really need that cool air! A/C units can lose 5% of their efficiency every year they go without a tune-up. Better to spend a little money having the unit professionally serviced than throw more of it away on higher electric bills.
You'll find a lot of A/C service companies offering specials and annual contracts this time of year. Here's what the service should include:
- Cleaning condensing unit coils
- Checking the compressor's amp draw
- Oiling fan motors
- Checking belt adjustments
- Checking system operating pressures and temperatures against manufacturer specifications.
- Checking the unit's filter and replacing it, as needed
In addition, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America says an annual check of coolant levels is very important, since a unit that has lost just 10% of its coolant can use 20% more electricity to operate. If the unit is low on coolant (Freon), it must be added. If the unit is leaking, however, the service company is required by law to repair the leak before adding Freon, a chlorofluorocarbon that can damage the ozone layer if released into the atmosphere.
Do It Yourself
You can do a few things yourself to help minimize your A/C unit's energy consumption, increase your comfort level and make certain the unit continues to operate properly.
- Buy high-quality filters and change them monthly.
- Keep shrubs and other material away from the outside unit to ensure good air flow.
- Don't close air supply vents inside the home. Doing so can change pressure in the system, possibly damaging it.