The sun comes out, the clouds clear up and the windows swing wide open: It’s summertime in Oswego, Yorkville, Aurora, Naperville and Montgomery, and we’re glad to have the sun shine – until it really heats up, that is.
Summertime air is great up to a point. Beyond that, unless we enjoy oppressive heat and humidity, it’s time to close the windows and blinds and let our air conditioners keep us comfortable, cool and relaxed.
Our units are good at that when they’re well maintained and properly running. When they’re not, however, we find out fast what even just one afternoon without them can feel like. It’s important that we not take their performance for granted.
Ensuring that our air conditioners are ready to act at the right moments takes just a little attention and knowledge on our part. Each year, we can make air conditioning awareness our own kind of simple summer school.
Air Conditioning School Rule 1: Maintain the Unit
Unless we take our cars in for inspections and oil changes, older components will continue to labor, lubrication will thin, and wires and connections may falter. Beyond the engine, a part such as a rear brake or the catalytic converter may begin to wear down. If we don’t have these areas looked at and addressed, small problems can worsen.
So it is with our air conditioners. Many people don’t think of annual air conditioning maintenance not because they don’t care, but rather because their attention is simply on other things. When they finally do get around to it, it’s often because something has gone wrong with the unit.
To stay properly cool every summer, your unit needs some basic attention. Some of it you can give on your own, and some of it is best provided by an AC professional. The following are some of the most important items for proper performance each summer.
Filter. It’s the main air conditioning maintenance item and perhaps the most overlooked. Be sure to check your AC filter at least every two or three months. If it’s dirty or clogged, change it right away. This will help ensure proper airflow, reduce strain on your unit and even limit energy costs.
Coils. Your AC’s evaporator coil and condenser coil gather dirt during seasons of extended use. Outdoor condenser coils can become especially dirty if its environment is dirty or dusty or surrounded by foliage and debris. This dirt insulates the coil and reduces its ability to dissipate heat. Aim to minimize dirt and debris around your unit. An air conditioning maintenance professional will inspect the coils as well.
Coil fins. The aluminum fins on the coils can be easily bent, and this will obstruct airflow through the coil. During air conditioning maintenance, the AC professional will check the coil and if need use a “fin comb” to straighten them.
Condensate drains. As your air conditioner lowers the temperature of your home, it will also take out moisture from the air. As this moisture accumulates on the evaporator coil, it will drip into the condensate pan, which will then flow to your drain line. If your drain line is plugged, the water will eventually fill the pan, overflow and drip down into the furnace. Since water and electronics do not mix, part of maintenance is cleaning out the drain and adding chemicals as required.
During air conditioning maintenance for summer, an AC professional will also perform steps such as:
- check for correct refrigerant levels
- check for and seal any duct leakage
- verify the correct electric-control sequence
- inspect electric terminals and connections
- lubricate parts and motors
- check the accurate function of the thermostat
Air Conditioning School Rule 2: Repair or Replace the Unit If Needed
You’ll note that much of this conversation centers on School Rule 1 concerning air conditioning maintenance. That’s because that is the single biggest factor in AC that runs correctly, keeps you cool and helps lengthen the life of the system.
The next rule is natural and obvious: If maintenance shows that something is malfunctioning but fixable with your AC, repair it soon if not right away. This will get your system back to normal quickly and help prevent an issue from getting much bigger (and more expensive).
In some cases, a diagnosed problem and needed repair can rival the cost of replacement of your air conditioning unit. Rather than spend a similar amount on a repair, you may enjoy the greatest return on investment with a new air conditioner, especially if the age of your current unit is 10 years or older.
Many of today’s replacement air conditioners have even greater energy efficiency. You might also determine that your space needs a different size or type of air conditioner, particularly if you have reduced your living space or, conversely, made any additions or renovations.
Contact RJ Kuhn: Air Conditioning Maintenance, Repair & Replacement
The main lesson here is that keeping cool with our summer school rules is just, well, smart. Being attentive to proper air conditioning maintenance, repair or replacement ensures your comfort, contributes to greater air quality, supports personal health and often keeps more money in the bank.
RJ Kuhn specializes in air conditioning maintenance, repair and replacement for Oswego, Yorkville, Aurora, Naperville and Montgomery. We’ve been serving local customers since 1972, and we enjoy supporting them just as much now as we did then. Our solutions have also often saved them hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
We always welcome the opportunity to listen to what you might need for your air conditioning maintenance, repair or replacement. Give us a call at (630) 554-3336!