How Routine Air Conditioning Service Can Reduce AC Repair Costs

Air conditioning is important for many homes during the blistering summer months in the U.S.. However, the expenses associated with running an AC are substantial. Learn how scheduled air conditioning service can minimize AC repair costs, and adopt energy-saving habits to help your unit run more efficiently. With these tips, you’ll enjoy a comfortable home this summer without breaking the bank.

What Routine AC Service Includes

Air conditioning maintenance is a reasonably priced, predictable annual expense that pays you back by reducing repair costs and extending your unit’s life span. Here are some significant maintenance steps that help protect against air conditioner breakdowns:

  • Swap out the air filter: A dirty filter restricts airflow and makes your air conditioner to work harder, burning more energy and increasing the risk of overheating. Replacing your air conditioner’s dirty air filter with a clean one as part of your yearly maintenance service call, and every 30 to 90 days throughout the year, promotes ideal airflow and efficiency.
  • Clean the evaporator coil: The indoor evaporator coil collects dirt and dust with time, limiting its ability to absorb heat. This can cause the refrigerant inside of the coil to freeze, keeping your air conditioner from operating properly. Cleaning the coil takes out this insulating layer and will help the refrigerant to do its job.
  • Clean the condenser coil: The outside condenser coil emits heat absorbed by the refrigerant. If it’s caked in cobwebs, grass clippings and other debris, the heat transfer process is weakened. Cleaning the condenser coil boosts the unit’s function greatly, reducing wear and tear on your air conditioner that could result in breakdowns.
  • Straighten the coils’ fins: The aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils can become bent, reducing airflow and negatively affecting your air conditioner’s performance.  Straightening the fins with a fin comb returns them to their original position to restore proper airflow.
  • Lubricate moving parts: Friction in the motor and other moving components produces heat and causes undue wear and tear.  Regular lubrication minimizes friction, ensuring smooth operation and decreasing the need for repairs.
  • Check refrigerant levels: A low refrigerant charge is another reason why your AC can freeze up, resulting in longer run times, comfort problems and avoidable AC repairs. An HVAC professional uses special tools to check and adjust refrigerant levels as needed to assure proper performance and prevent a mid-season breakdown.

Other Ways to Reduce AC Repair Costs

Once-a-year maintenance is an important factor in reducing AC repair charges, but here are some other tips to help your air conditioning unit operate dependably all summer long:

  • Turn the temperature up: Elevating the thermostat setting limits the wear and tear on your cooling system.  Choose a comfortable temperature and avoid setting the thermostat any lower.
  • Buy a programmable thermostat: When set correctly, a programmable thermostat helps control your home’s temperature more efficiently, reducing the pressure on your AC unit. It’s a good idea to program setback periods of 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away or sleeping to help save on energy costs and further diminish wear and tear.
  • Seal air leaks: Gaps and cracks around the edges of windows and doors let warm, humid air into your home. Use caulk and weatherstripping to avoid overloading your air conditioning equipment.
  • Add insulation: A correct attic insulation level encourages consistent indoor temperatures and reduces your AC’s workload. If you can see the attic floor or joists poking through the insulation you already have in your home, add more.
  • Block solar heat gain: The sun’s heat warms your home, increasing the workload of your air conditioner. Installing window coverings and drawing the blinds or shades during the hottest part of the day blocks solar heat gain and lowers the chance of a mid-season breakdown.
  • Use ceiling fans: The wind chill effect produced by ceiling fans makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler, allowing you to raise the thermostat setting without sacrificing comfort. Don’t forget to shut the fan off when you leave the room, as fans cool people, not spaces.
  • Use a dehumidifier: For those who live in a humid part of the country, elevated humidity levels can make your home feel cool but clammy, motivating you to turn down the temperature. A whole-house dehumidifier takes away unwanted moisture, giving your air conditioner a much-needed break.
  • Clean your vents: Closed or covered air vents throw off the balance of return and supply air, which can cause your air conditioner to break down. To avoid this, always keep at least 80 percent of your registers open, and make sure no furniture, curtains or rugs inadvertently hinder airflow. Boost circulation further by making sure doors between rooms are open as much as possible.
  • Invest in an energy-efficient air conditioner: If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient system. In addition to improved efficiency, a new system is also far less likely to break down or encounter maintenance issues than an older unit, lowering your repair fees in the long run.

Schedule AC Service in the U.S.

By investing in routine air conditioning maintenance and adopting other recommended home-cooling habits, you’ll enjoy a comfortable interior with decreased repair costs this summer. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers quality air conditioning tune-ups to maximize efficiency and extend your air conditioner’s life span. We can also upgrade your AC unit if yours is starting to have problems.

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