To help consumers add years to the life of their air conditioning system, Bill Cunningham, a home cooling and energy efficiency expert with Lennox – a leading manufacturer of heating and cooling products – suggests the following tips for keeping your cool this summer:
Three Signs That You May Need to Replace Your Air Conditioner
1. System runs continually, resulting in high energy bills
2. System requires frequent repairs
3. System is more than 12 years old
1. Change the Filter – Dirty air filters are the No. 1 preventable cause of a system breakdown. When the air filter becomes clogged by dirt and other particles, the unit can’t produce enough airflow, which results in a lower volume of air and the system having to work harder. According to Cunningham, clean filters allow the system to run more effectively and can help save energy by reducing operating costs.
2. Call for an Annual Check-up – To help ensure proper and efficient operation, the system should be serviced by a qualified service technician at the beginning of each cooling season. While this service generally includes a check of all major system components and equipment operation, it also allows the technician to identify and eliminate any concerns, should they exist, thereby helping to prevent more costly repairs if those concerns are left uncorrected.
3. Keep the Unit Clean and Clear – Another important thing a homeowner can do for the health of a unit is keep the outside air conditioning unit clear of debris. Make a habit out of keeping the condensing unit clear of weeds and plants. Allow proper clearance around all sides of the unit including the top to make sure it can breathe properly.
4. Set it and Forget It – Programmable thermostats help ensure the air conditioner operates only when necessary to maintain a steady, even temperature, which prevents it from running constantly and helps conserve energy. Many new thermostats also have service reminders that alert the homeowner when routine maintenance is required. In the long run, these state-of-the-art features can help prolong the life of a system.
5. Replace a System That’s Past its Prime – While a routine annual maintenance check-up by a licensed professional can extend the life of an air conditioner and help save on major repairs and energy costs, if the system is already 12 to 15 years old, Cunningham says it’s time to consider replacing the system. Maintenance and repairs on older systems can be more expensive and they don’t operate as efficiently, whereas a new system will be much more energy efficient and will save hundreds of dollars on energy bills.