If You Own a Central Air Conditioner, You Need to Read This

When it comes to your home (your most significant investment), it’s essential to look after every working cog that goes into it. From the light by the front door to the backsplash in the kitchen, no detail should go overlooked — that includes your central air conditioner. While this vital piece to the investment puzzle may seem to be running smoothly, it could need some more attention to detail. To make sure that your air conditioner runs efficiently, here’s what you need to review to stay in the clear:

First, Do You Notice Any of These Signs?

Hearing Strange Sounds

When you turn your central air conditioner on, do you hear any strange noises? While you may hear a subtle “hum” now and then, there are some noises that you should never encounter — such as any clanking or banging. These sounds not only mean that there might be a loose part hitting against the fan in the compressor outside, but that you could have a problem on your hands, and your air conditioner could give out when you need it the most. Another sign to look out for?

Smelling a Foul Smell

Oh, goodness: what was that foul smell? It turns out, there’s a chance that your air ducts might have seen better days. Sometimes, ductwork has a small leak, which will not only let water seep through, but can cause moisture build-up and create mold.

Poor Airflow

When you typically turn the air on, do you feel as if you’re getting the temperature that you desire or does it seem like a struggle for your unit? If that’s the case, then there’s a possibility that you’re experiencing poor airflow, which can cause your unit to go into overdrive, increasing your energy bills in the process. There’s a chance that there is a problem lingering inside of your air ducts or that there’s something blocking an air vent, which might be the root of the problem.

To make sure that your unit is in the clear, it’s essential to take these steps to ensure that you have an efficient, “healthy” air conditioner running in your home.

Now it’s Time to Get Your Central AC Into Shape.

Examine Your Outdoor Compressor

Known to be the brain of your central air conditioner, your compressor is a very important piece to the puzzle. Before turning on your air conditioner, you’ll want to examine every square inch of it. First, look to see if any branches are protruding into the space from nearby bushes or trees. If that’s the case, you’ll want to trim and/or remove the branches, since any leaves or twigs can get stuck in the fins. Next, see if there is any debris stuck in the metal fins of your unit and carefully remove them.

After that, check to see if those metal fins are aligned and not bent, since that can hinder performance. Another area to look at is the wiring attached to your compressor. See if that’s in tact — but If you notice that something is askew with the electrical components, don’t turn your unit on until it’s repaired by a professional.

Finally, it’s time for the inside of your compressor to be looked at and cleaned. Since this task can be a tad overwhelming, it’s important to have a professional carry out the job. Areas such as the condensation drain and evaporator coils must be cleaned in order to help your HVAC unit run efficiently. Another spot for them to check is the fan itself, in addition to checking for any leaks in the system. Once this is complete, it’s time to move indoors and examine your filter.

Replace Your Filter

If you’ve ever endured a stuffy nose, then you know that the best way to clear it is to use a tissue. The same concept applies to your HVAC unit’s filter; it acts as the tissue for your unit. When you have a central air conditioner, the unit uses its filter to trap any airborne debris and eliminate it from entering into your ductwork. However, when the filter has been in use for more than two months (maximum), then you might be in for an unpleasant surprise: higher energy bills.

No matter how often you use your central air conditioner, a filter bogged down and caked in filth will make it much more difficult for your unit to function correctly. That being said, your central AC will start to work much harder than before to produce and deliver cold air throughout your home. To keep your unit afloat, make sure to jot down the last time you replaced your filter.

When you regularly replace or clean (if the filter is deemed washable) the filter, your unit will function like a pro — and your energy bills will more than likely stay in a comfortable range.

Have the Ducts Cleaned

Once a clean filter is in place, it’s time to dive deeper into your unit: the air ducts. Known to be the “veins” of your home’s HVAC system, these airborne passages will help distribute air throughout your home. And just like the system’s filter, unmaintained ducts will bog down your unit and minimize airflow, causing the unit to work harder than necessary.

When you opt for a professional duct cleaning, an expert will be able to get into every nook and cranny of your ductwork, scrubbing them down until they glimmer. Duct cleanings will remove all debris that the filter didn’t catch, giving your HVAC unit a clean slate to work with.

To go the extra mile with cleaning, it’s essential not to neglect the air vent covers that are found on the outside of your ducts. With a simple screwdriver, you’ll be able to remove each vent cover, give it a gentle wash (don’t use anything abrasive, since they’ll scratch easily), dry them down, and install them back into their “home.” Knowing your unit was scrubbed down will give you peace of mind and provide an even distribution of air.

Maximize Your Airflow

Once your air ducts and vent covers are cleaned, it’s time to find the perfect way to maximize the airflow in your home. Contrary to popular belief, if there’s a piece of furniture or fabric (i.e., curtains) blocking any air vents, then those items will hinder the airflow — which may prompt you to turn down your thermostat and let your AC run all day and night at a substantial rate.

When maximizing your airflow, you’ll want to go room-by-room and locate each air vent. From there, make sure that nothing is blocking them. If you do stumble upon a blockage, it’s essential to relocate the object to a different part of the room. After scouring your home until all vents are not obstructed, you’ll notice a pleasant difference the next time you turn your air conditioner on.

Still Encountering a Problem With Your System?

You Might Need to Replace Your Air Conditioner

If you find that no matter how much maintenance you put into your unit and there’s still not a noticeable difference, then it would be wise to look into a new air conditioner. Unlike the central ACs from years ago, newer models are designed to be more energy efficient and are up to current practice regulations (so long, R22).

On average, a central air conditioner lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and that’s if they receive regular maintenance. Another reason to replace your current system is if you find yourself having the same repairs made to your unit repeatedly. The amount of money that you’re continually putting into the unit may eventually equal the exact amount of a new unit.

Does Your AC Need Maintenance, Repair, or a Complete Upgrade?

Look no further than Manchester’s Proactive Comfort. For expert service and repairs, give us a call at (603) 239-2346 to schedule your appointment. We also serve customers throughout Hooksett, Nashua, and Hillsborough County.