Without regular maintenance an air conditioner looses about 5% of its original efficiency for each year of operation. This means that the 12 SEER unit that you bought just a few years ago may be functioning like a 9 SEER unit today! The good news is that you can recover most of that lost efficiency through regular maintenance. Studies show that with regular tune-ups a unit will maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency. This means that the cost of an annual tune-up is recovered very quickly in savings on your monthly electric bill and reduced repair costs. A properly serviced air conditioner will also do a better job of dehumidifying your home. There are some things in addition to yearly tune-ups that you can do to help ensure a high level of comfort and proper system operation.
The service check should include cleaning the condensing unit coils, checking the amp draw of the compressor, oiling the fan motors, checking that belts are well adjusted, and checking the system operating pressures and temperatures against the manufacturer’s specifications. One of the most important items to check is the coolant level (commonly known as Freon) in the air conditioner. A system that is only 10% low on coolant will cost about 20% more to operate! The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) recommends that coolant levels be checked every year.
First, buy good filters and change them regularly. Next, keep bushes and other materials away from the outside unit of your air conditioner. Another good idea is to avoid closing supply air outlets in your house. In almost all cases, closing supply outlets is harmful to the operation of the overall system.
All equipment, even the most reliable, needs routine maintenance. Complicated equipment like, today’s air conditioners, benefit in many ways from annual service. They recover much of their lost efficiency, they are less likely to suffer a major break down, they have a longer life span, they increase your comfort, and they operate for less money.
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