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Getting the Most from Your Home Air Conditioner

Home air conditioning units can be lifesavers in the summer. They can also be a burden to service and maintain. The key to getting the most out of your home air conditioning unit is to stay up to date on maintenance and cleaning. Often air conditioner service is best provided by a professional technician, but monitoring your system for irregularities or malfunctions is important in keeping your system running smoothly. The last thing you want is a broken air conditioner during the hottest month of summer. While air conditioner repair can be costly, it is often a better option than allowing the unit to break entirely and having to completely replace expensive parts or the unit itself.

Central air conditioners work by taking the hot air inside your house to the furnace through the hot air duct, and moving it across the cooled evaporator coil. From here, the air flows through the ducts to cool your house. The main components of the air conditioner include: the condenser coil, condenser unit, fan, compressor, and the coolant lines. Within the house on the furnace, the evaporator coil, the plenum, the evaporator drain lines, and the cold air return duct are essential components to maintain to ensure the proper functioning of your air conditioner.

Like any other piece of mechanical equipment, air conditioners break down from sustained use. The more you use the air conditioning unit, the faster the components will wear down and begin to fail. Some people begin running their air conditioner as soon as the outside temperature breaks eighty degrees, and they regularly run it all summer. This not only uses a lot of energy but it strains your air conditioning unit considerably. With this kind of sustained use, it is even more important to keep up on the maintenance procedures for the unit. Doing things like cleaning the evaporator, cleaning the condenser coil, and checking levels of Freon–the refrigerant substance–will all help to extend the life of your air conditioner and keep it running smoothly.

At some point, no matter how sparingly you run your air conditioner, something will malfunction or breakdown. In these instances, calling an air conditioner technician for any repairs is a good idea. Before this, however, it helps to have a moderate understanding of what the problem is. If you can diagnose the problem, it will be much easier to call a repair person and have them look at the unit and replace the part.

If you have an old unit and are strapped for money to cover any breakdowns and repair costs, consider limiting the days and times you run the air conditioner. Turn the unit on for cooling the house when you get home and let it run while you are present. Then turn the unit off at night once the house has been cooling for a number of hours. On days with more moderate daytime temperatures, consider leaving your air conditioner off. Instead run ceiling and floor fans to circulate air throughout the house. Alternating days or only using the air conditioner on very hot days will help conserve energy, reducing your power bills, and will preserve the life of the unit. This can be difficult if you’re accustomed to cooling your home exclusively with the air conditioner, but reducing use is one sure way to reduce wear on the equipment. You might even find that you enjoy a little summer heat and can get by just fine without the Freon and the high utility costs brought on by all that cool air.

By +Ben Vaughn

Ben Vaughn writes on maintaining your home air conditioner, energy conservation tips, and air conditioning repair Utah.

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