Summer in Florida is one of the worst times for your AC unit to stop working, but unfortunately, it happens often. With the temperatures peaking outside, your HVAC system has to work harder to cool down your home. The additional strain compared to cooler months can sometimes be too much for certain components, especially if they haven’t been maintained properly.
BHS offers a few pointers you can use as the summer heats up in order to avoid potential breakdowns and keep your AC unit running smoothly!
Change Your Air Filters Every 1 To 3 Months
The most basic but also one of the most common mistakes people make is not changing their air filters on a regular basis. Not changing your air filter blocks the airflow through your air ducts. If the filters become too clogged, your system can freeze over or burn itself out trying to regulate the temperature in your home.
Most clean homes can go about 3 months before changing their filters. However, if you have pets or a lot of dust and debris, you may need to change it as often as once a month. You also may change them more frequently during seasons of extreme temperatures, like summer. The best way to determine when you need to change your air filter is to check it monthly.
If you have a non-pleated air filter, you’ll want to be able to see through it. If you can’t, it’s time to change the filter. For pleated filters, you’ll have to inspect them to see if there is dirt or debris inside of it. If so, then it’s time to change it, too.
Non-pleated filters are the most common and the cheapest on the market, whereas pleated filters are often more expensive. The difference between the two is that pleated filters can capture smaller particles. They also have a longer lifespan. Pleated filters are more likely to last three months versus the 30 days cheaper, non-pleated filters typically last.
Keep The Condensate Drainage Line Clean And Clear
Attached to your AC unit is a drainage pipe that removes any condensation that builds up inside the air in your home. The drainage pipe releases this liquid outside of your home, so long as the way is clear.
What many homeowners don’t know is that things can grow inside your drainage pipe, including mildew, algae, and mold. These can cause a blockage, which can be very dangerous for your air conditioning system. When the condensate cannot drain, it backs up into your unit, causing all kinds of technical problems.
The best way to tell whether or not your drainage line is clear is by checking the drip pan. You should be able to find it directly under your AC unit or behind an access panel. If your drip pan is overflowing, it means water is not able to escape through the drainage line due to a blockage.
If this happens, turn off your HVAC system using the thermostat and the breaker, then locate the drip pan. You will want to remove the moisture here first using rags or a shop vac. Make sure you clean the pan of any lingering mildew, algae, or growth by cleaning it with soap and water after it’s drained.
You will then want to remove any blockage that is in the drainage line. The best way to do this is by using suction. Stick the vacuum in the pipe and then seal the lining around the vacuum and the drainage pipe with your hand. Let the vacuum run for a minute before checking to see if the clog has been cleared. If it’s not, try again.
Once your drainage line is clear, use distilled vinegar or peroxide to flush out the drain. After this is done, check to see if your drainage pipe is clear by running water through it. If the water escapes freely, you’re good to go.
Schedule A Maintenance Appointment
Giving your air conditioning or HVAC system a check-up is always a good idea, especially if it’s working twice as hard. When a licensed and certified AC technician conducts a maintenance appointment, he completes a comprehensive checklist that makes certain everything is working properly and no parts have worn out or broken.
Don’t have to sense a problem with your AC system in order to schedule a maintenance call. They’re relatively cheap, and they can save you thousands in the long run by spotting issues before they become problems.
You always want to schedule at least one maintenance call per year for your air conditioning. Think of it as an oil change for your car. After so many miles, you have to give it some TLC by cleaning the condenser coils, examining loose fittings or leaky connections, recharging the refrigerant, and inspecting your thermostat for battery life and functionality.
If you ever suspect that your AC unit isn’t running properly or it starts to make strange sounds, make sure you set up an appointment immediately. A little bit of precautionary inspection can go a long way in preventing a sweltering breakdown in the middle of summer.