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 discreet—unusual noises, odd smells or reduced cooling. Before you know it, these seemingly slight issues escalate into full-blown breakdowns. However, with a touch of preparation and scheduled maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running effortlessly. Here are 10 tips to prevent AC trouble this summer.

1.  Replace the Air Filter Regularly

One simple yet effective tip is to look at the air filter every 30 days and replace it when it appears dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter promotes smooth airflow, elevates indoor air quality and improves air conditioning efficiency. An overused or dirty filter, on the other hand, causes your AC to work harder than it should, 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 successfully. Routinely check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or twigs. Then, prune all the plants growing within 12 inches of the unit. These steps can minimize AC problems and improve optimal performance.

3.  Check the Condensate Drain Pan

The AC doesn’t just cool the air—it also takes out unwanted humidity. This moisture is collected in the condensate drain pan and then moves down the drain line. These components can become blocked over time, causing leaks and increasing the likelihood of water damage. Periodically inspect the drain pan and line for leakage to avert these AC issues.

4.  Listen for Strange Noises or Smells

Your air conditioner mostly functions with a soft, steady hum. If you hear abnormal grinding, screeching or hissing, you can bet something’s amiss. Similarly, if you notice odd electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can be a sign of various AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and should be addressed promptly.

5.  Keep Your Vents Open

While closing vents in empty rooms may seem wise, doing so makes pressure imbalances and decreases system efficiency. To avoid air conditioning 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 conditioner’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 advanced, allowing you to check and adjust your home’s temperature when you aren’t home or even control the settings with your voice.

7.  Check Your Attic Insulation

Air conditioning efficiency doesn’t just entail the unit’s mechanics. Adequate insulation is also vital for maintaining a comfortable interior, blocking warm air from seeping in and cold air escaping. The attic is the best place to add insulation to an existing home, so peek inside the hatch to see if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If it doesn’t, you may have to add more insulation to enjoy substantial energy savings and prevent overloading your AC.

8.  Avoid Heat-Generating Activities in the Afternoon

Turning on the oven, stove or clothes dryer when the sun is at its peak dramatically increases your AC unit’s workload. When possible, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to cut down on unneeded AC activity. When brainstorming what you’re going to cook for dinner in the summer, consider reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating unheated 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 AC unit, it can definitely work in conjunction with it. Ceiling fans create a wind chill effect that makes your room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This additional comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, reducing the workload on your air conditioner and potentially preventing AC problems. Just remember to turn off the fan when you walk out of the space. The reason for this is because 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 practical measure aimed at locating and fixing little issues before they intensify into serious problems. An annual check by a skilled HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner for summer, saving you from inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs by making sure your AC is working optimally.

Contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Air Conditioner Service in the U.S.

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 regular tune-up or emergency air conditioner repair, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has you covered. We are committed to providing thorough and efficient maintenance, repairs and installations to meet all your cooling needs. For reliable AC services in your area, call 866-397-3787 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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