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Essential AC Maintenance Practices To Extend The Lifespan Of Your AC Unit

ac maintenance
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In South Florida’s hot and humid climate, a well-functioning AC system is not a luxury, but a necessity. To ensure your AC unit keeps performing efficiently and effectively, regular maintenance is essential.

HVAC technicians agree that while annual air conditioner maintenance by a professional is vital, there are regular AC maintenance practices that all homeowners should follow. We have compiled a list of the top 10 AC maintenance practices that should help your home have cool air circulating all year around.

ac maintenance

10 Top AC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Your air conditioner is a complex appliance that contains numerous parts. To maintain the desired room temperature and continue circulating clean, uncontaminated air, it needs to be in tip-top condition.

Apart from scheduling an annual service with professional AC technicians, all homeowners should adopt the following essential maintenance practices to ensure the longevity of the AC unit:

  • Regular maintenance of the filters
  • Keeping the outdoor unit clean
  • ​​​​​​Cleaning the condensate drain line
  • Ensuring proper insulation and sealing
  • Monitoring the thermostat settings
  • Avoiding overuse
  • Protecting the AC during a storm
  • Ensuring unobstructed airflow
  • Regular duct maintenance
  • Annual professional maintenance

1. Regular Maintenance Of Filters

AC filters play a vital role in trapping dust, allergens, and contaminants thereby preventing them from circulating throughout the space. Dirty air filters not only result in contaminated air circulation but also obstructed airflow which increases energy consumption and puts a strain on the AC system.

AC filters should be checked and replaced every 30 to 90 days, or as needed.

2. Keeping The Outdoor Unit Clean

South Florida’s hot and humid climate makes the outdoor condenser unit very susceptible to dirt from debris, leaves, and grass clippings so it needs to be checked and cleaned regularly, It is also advisable to trim back, by at least two feet, any vegetation that could dirty the unit and obstruct airflow.

clean your ac coils

​​​3. Cleaning The Condensate Drain Line

Cleaning the air-conditioner drain line is important if you want to prevent water damage and maintain the efficiency of the unit.

Over time, the drain line is prone to becoming clogged with dirt, algae, and debris, causing water to back up and overflow into the surrounding areas. Backed-up water then damages walls, floors, and ceilings, and also promotes mold growth that poses a serious health risk. ​​​​

Keeping the drain line clean ensures proper draining of condensate, allowing the AC to function optimally and keep you cool in South Florida’s hot climate.

4. Ensure Proper Insulation And Sealing

To maximize efficiency and performance, the air conditioner must be insulated and sealed properly. Proper insulation prevents air leakage, maintains the indoor temperature, and reduces energy wastage.

Apart from sealing the refrigerant lines and ductwork properly, any gaps or cracks around the unit also need to be sealed to minimize outdoor air infiltration. Ultimately, proper insulation and sealing enhance cooling efficiency, contributes to a comfortable living space, and lowers energy bills.

5. Monitoring The Thermostat Settings

Monitoring the thermostat setting contributes to indoor comfort, and maintains energy efficiency. Setting the thermostat properly significantly impacts energy consumption and utility costs.

Setting the temperature too low during the hot summer months strains the air-conditioner system, and leads to excessive energy usage while setting it too high leads to discomfort.

Many homeowners are now opting for air-conditioners with programable thermostats. Programmable thermostats offer the flexibility to adjust the temperature based on the time of day/occupancy, optimizing energy usage and maximizing the unit’s lifespan.

Programmable Thermostats & System Zoning

6. Avoiding Overuse

Overusing the air-conditioner leads to higher energy consumption and increased energy bills. It also places unnecessary strain on the system, ultimately leading to system malfunction and costly repairs.

Undoubtedly, ACs are necessary for our hot humid climate, however, being environmentally responsible is equally important. Exploring additional methods like ceiling/free-standing fans allows you to strike a balance between comfort and responsible AC usage.

Top tip: Setting your AC to a comfortable temperature of between 72 – 78℉ is another effective way to use your AC responsibly.

7. Protecting The AC During A Storm

South Florida residents are very familiar with the intense hurricanes and tropical storms that pose a significant threat to both life and property. While putting plans in place to protect your assets from harm, it’s important to have a solid plan to protect the outdoor AC unit.

Neglecting to protect this valuable cooling system during a storm will not only lead to prolonged periods of discomfort but may result in very costly repairs.

Some practical ways to protect your AC from flooding/flying debris during a storm include:

  • Installing and making use of unique hurricane straps. Ensure these are securely tightened before the storm hits.
  • Cover the unit with specialized storm covers. Ensure the cover is properly secured.
  • Ensure that all vegetation near the unit is trimmed back.

8. Ensure Unobstructed Airflow

To ensure optimum performance and efficiency, the air-conditioning unit must be unobstructed. A clear pathway for airflow allows the system to cool the room effectively, without putting undue strain on the components.

To ensure unobstructed airflow you must:

  • Ensure no items are placed in front of the unit. Remove all furniture or other objects that could potentially obstruct airflow, to a minimum of 2 feet away.
  • Trim back all vegetation to at least 2 feet away from the unit.
  • Ensure the air filters are not clogged with dirt or debris. Schedule to check and clean them monthly or more often if necessary.
  • Schedule regular maintenance of the ductwork to ensure there are no blockages from dust or debris.
ducts and attic

9. Regular Duct Maintenance

The air conditioner ducts play a vital role in ensuring a clean cool air circulates the room. If not checked and cleaned regularly, the air conditioning ducts accumulate dust, debris, and allergens that reduce air quality and potentially trigger respiratory issues.

Clogged or leaking ducts also contribute to energy wastage. Dirty ducts force the unit to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, resulting in increased energy consumption and higher utility bills.

Dirty ducts also foster mold growth. This poses a serious health risk and compromises the integrity of the unit. Adhering to a regular duct cleaning and maintenance schedule will ensure that your AC functions safely and efficiently, keeping you comfortable in the hot humid days.

10. Annual Professional Maintenance

South Florida’s hot and humid climate puts a significant strain on air conditioning systems. To ensure the unit continues to function efficiently, the AC requires regular maintenance by professional technicians.

Professional HVAC technicians are qualified and trained to inspect, maintain, clean, and disinfect most AC units. They are also able to identify and repair any minor issues before they escalate into major problems.

In a state where your AC system work tirelessly to keep your home comfortable, annual AC maintenance is a necessity to ensure the unit’s longevity and optimal performance.

Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, South Florida’s AC Technicians Of Choice

The residents of South Florida have come to rely on the professional, qualified, and experienced AC technicians at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric for all their AC maintenance needs.

In the AC business for over 40 years, these experienced technicians can service all major air conditioner brands. Whether you are worried that your air quality is not up to scratch, or your unit requires its annual maintenance, we are here for you. Call us at 1-800-475-1500 today.

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