On average in central Texas, an air conditioning system will last from 10 to 12 years. The service life can be shortened or extended, depending on how regularly preventive maintenance is performed. Maintenance will also help the system run more efficiently so that your home or office stays more comfortable and it costs you less money. Regular maintenance ensures your system is more energy-efficient and requires fewer repairs, both of which save you money.
There is some maintenance you can do yourself, while other maintenance requires the service of an HVAC system expert. Professional maintenance should be performed on an HVAC system twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
- Thermostat calibration & setting – ensures comfort when at home and saves energy when you’re away
- Check & tighten all electrical connections – system operates more safely and increases life of components
- Lubricate all moving parts – reduces energy by minimizing friction and overheating
- Check & inspect condensate drain – plugged drain can affect indoor humidity levels and more seriously cause water damage
- Check all system controls – ensures the systems starts, operates and shuts off properly
- Clean condenser coils – dirty coils increase energy costs and reduce the life of equipment
- Check refrigerant levels & adjust if necessary – too much or too little refrigerant increases energy costs
- Clean & adjust blower components – airflow problems can reduce efficiency up to 15%
- (If applicable) Check all gas connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger – Improperly sealed gas connections are a fire hazard. Dirty burners or failed heat exchangers can allow carbon monoxide to escape which can be extremely unsafe or possibly fatal.
Do-It-Yourself Air Conditioning Maintenance
Changing air conditioning filters is probably the part of air conditioning maintenance that most people are most familiar with. Still, many fail to keep records or follow up with routine filter changes. Not only is this one of the most important parts of do-it-yourself air conditioning maintenance, it is also one of the simplest.
When dirt builds up on filters, air flow is obstructed, preventing the system from working efficiently. Either cleaning a reusable filter or replacing it with a new one can improve energy efficiency by as much as 15%. To aid in system efficiency and help extend the life of your system, Christianson recommends cleaning or replacing filters once a month.
The air conditioner coils absorb heat, making them an important part of the cooling system. They are also prone to collecting dirt, even when the filter is kept clean. When dirt covers the coils, they are unable to absorb heat efficiently. Indoor units should be examined visually each year, prior to air conditioning season, and cleaned if necessary.
On the outdoor condensing units, the coils are even more vulnerable due to exposure to foliage, dust and grass clippings. It is important to keep grass, weeds, bushes and plant cleared and trimmed away from the condensing unit. It is also a good idea to treat around the unit’s concrete slab with pesticide to prevent ants and spiders.
You may recognize the area on the evaporator and condenser coils known as “coil fins” by sight more than by their name. These flat metal pieces are extremely fragile and easy to bend. Be very careful when mowing or trimming to not damage the coils. Bent coils reduce air flow dramatically and impact the efficiency and life of your system. If the fins become badly bent or damaged, contact a service provider or a Christianson expert to restore them to good operating condition.
Leave It to the Pros
Although some minor maintenance can be performed by the homeowner or business owner, a maintenance plan with Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing includes all the annual and bi-annual maintenance that will keep your HVAC system running more efficiently. These services include two precision system tune-ups annually: one in the spring and one in the fall.
Your air conditioning is a vital component of your comfort and utility bill. Don’t leave its efficiency to chance. Call Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Austin at (512) 246-5400 or our San Antonio location at (210) 651-1212 to schedule your maintenance services before hot weather rolls around.