As summer approaches and along with it days of scorching temperatures, many of us are turning on our air conditioners for the first time this year. After sitting dormant for months and often exposed to brutal winter conditions, that first use of the year can be a little concerning. However, it doesn’t have to be. Proper and regular maintenance of your AC systems can give you peace of mind that they will continue to run efficiently for years after installation.
Types of Cooling Systems and How They Work
Not all homes or businesses are cooled in the same manner. There are several different cooling system types. These include central air cooling, window AC units, ductless cooling, and evaporative cooling units. The best system for a building depends on many factors, including budget, building layout, and owner preferences on factors such as noise and aesthetics. Overall, most building owners tend to opt for one of the following two ways to cool the air inside.
Central Air: These cooling systems force cooled air throughout your home via ductwork. You set the temperature from a single thermostat (or multiple thermostats in homes with zone cooling). Owners tend to find that central air provides a less noisy option than window units. It also results in better air quality throughout the building.
Ductless: As the name suggests, this type of system does not require the use of ductwork throughout the building. Ductless AC units bring in condensed air from outside and release it directly into the building from the unit. Most systems will have at least two units in order to cool the entire space. Because of the limited reach of cool air in these systems, they are not ideal for large homes or businesses.
Preventative Maintenance for AC Systems
Advancements in air conditioner technology over the years have led to systems having a longer lifespan. This is great for building owners, as units are expensive to replace or repair. However, a long lifespan is not guaranteed, even with top-quality systems. To get the longest (and most efficient) use out of your system, regular maintenance is not just recommended – it’s required.
Furnace Filter Replacement: In central cooling systems, the cooled air is forced through the furnace, which means it passed through the furnace filter. As a building owner, this is one of the items that need the most consistent attention. You should ideally replace these filters once a quarter. However, buildings that rely heavily on their HVAC systems may need them replaced more often. Systems running with dirty filters force the fan to work overtime,. This can then lead to bigger problems like a blown motor.
Register Temperature Check: It’s crucial to assess the temperature of the air coming through your registers. This allows you to see how close it is to what you have set on the thermostat. If cooled air coming from these is not accurate, that is a good indication that the condensing coil needs a cleaning. Dirty condenser coils make your system have to work extra hard, and thus become less efficient.
Thermostat Calibration: The thermostat is what ultimately controls how hard a system needs to work to get the temperature inside the building to reach a set number. Those that are inaccurately calibrated tell the system that the internal temperature is different than it is in reality. If this is the case, it is likely the system will be working too hard (or not hard enough) trying to reach the temperature at which you set it. Regularly calibrating the thermostat can save lots of extra strain on your system.
Professional Maintenance to Prolong the Life of you AC
For those who know their way around an HVAC system, this regular maintenance may be achievable themselves. However, to avoid damaging your system or missing crucial maintenance steps, non-experts are advised to seek an annual preventative maintenance service from a licensed HVAC professional. These pros come equipped with the proper tools and training to diagnose system health and make recommendations or repairs based on their findings that will keep your system in top health.
At Flotechs Plumbing & Heating, we provide annual AC maintenance services for homes and businesses throughout Westchester County. Each yearly visit includes:
- Filter Cleaning
- Safeties Performance Check
- Evaluation of air temperature coming from registers
- Thermostat Functionality Check/Calibration
The number one reason for AC system failure is lack of upkeep and regular maintenance. Scheduling a yearly visit from our professionals each spring will help ensure that if there are any issues with your system, you are able to mitigate them before they escalate to a system failure. Don’t wait for your unit to fail on a hot summer day – contact us to set up your maintenance service today!