As with any important appliance, vehicle, etc., maintenance is the key to the life and efficiency of that item. This is also true of your air conditioning system. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and thorough repairs, if and when they are needed, can help your air conditioning system work to its maximum efficiency and purpose.
You can do many of the maintenance and repair jobs by yourself. You will need complete instructions and the proper tools. More involved jobs should be left to a professional. How do you know when to call a professional and when can you do it yourself?
Routine and thorough inspections are one of the most important parts of maintaining your air conditioning system. Inspections should be performed twice a year. The changing of the seasons is usually the best time to inspect and service your air conditioning system.
Specific areas to inspect and what requires a call to a professional are:
Filters: Most everyone knows that you should change your filters every month or so, depending on the type of filters you use and your preferences. In addition, because ducts and vents can acquire a dirty build up, they also need to be cleaned twice a year. A good household cleaning solution of vinegar and water will work perfectly! Make sure that all of the components are thoroughly dried before replacing the filters and vent doors.
Vents: Check all air vents around the house for signs of damage, and clean them as well.
Ducts: Your air conditioning system has a lot of exposed duct work. All of this should be inspected for signs of wear and tear, dents, and loose fittings. Check for signs that air is escaping the ducts, such as dirt streaks. If you notice a lot of problems in the duct work, it is a good idea to call a professional to identify and repair these issues.
Furnace: Carefully, turn on the furnace and actually look at the flame. It should burn blue and steady. If the flame is flickering and is red or orange, this could mean it is not working properly. If this occurs, call a professional immediately to inspect and repair and/or adjust the furnace.
Thermostat: Open the thermostat and check for dust. Dust can cause the thermostat to lose function. Clean out any dust, hair, or other particles with a cotton swab.
Condenser: You should keep an eye on your outdoor condenser. It should be kept free from falling leaves, branches, sticks, and other debris. This should be inspected at least twice a year. Inspect for dents, and take the cover off to check the blades for any damage. If the blades are damaged, absolutely call a professional. It isn’t safe to replace the blades yourself.
Generally, these inspections can be made by yourself. Most of what needs to be inspected is visible to the eye and you can make safe calculations about whether things are acceptable or not. If you have any doubts, or you notice any of the specified issues mentioned, call a professional to complete the work.