Air conditioning is essential for many homes during the sweltering summer months in Canada. However, the costs associated with running an AC are substantial. Discover how routine air conditioning service can reduce AC repair costs, and adopt energy-saving habits to help your unit run more efficiently. With these tips, you’ll enjoy a comfortable home this summer without breaking the bank.
What Routine AC Service Entails
Air conditioning maintenance is an affordable, predictable yearly cost that pays you back by reducing repair costs and extending your unit’s life span. Here are some crucial maintenance steps that help prevent air conditioner breakdowns:
- Replace the air filter: A dirty filter obstructs airflow and forces your air conditioner to work harder, consuming more energy and increasing the risk of overheating. Replacing your air conditioner’s dirty air filter with a clean one as part of your yearly maintenance visit, and every 30 to 90 days throughout the year, promotes optimal airflow and efficiency.
- Clean the evaporator coil: The indoor evaporator coil accumulates dirt and dust over time, reducing its ability to absorb heat. This can cause the refrigerant within the coil to freeze, preventing your air conditioner from running properly. Cleaning the coil removes this insulating layer and helps the refrigerant to do its job.
- Clean the condenser coil: The outdoor condenser coil releases heat absorbed by the refrigerant. If it’s caked in cobwebs, grass clippings and other debris, the heat transfer process is impaired. Cleaning the condenser coil improves the unit’s performance significantly, reducing wear and tear on your air conditioner that could lead to breakdowns.
- Straighten the coils’ fins: The aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils can become bent, restricting airflow and reducing performance. Straightening the fins with a fin comb returns them to their original position to restore proper airflow.
- Lubricate moving parts: Friction in the motor and other moving components generates heat and causes undue wear and tear. Regular lubrication reduces friction, ensuring smooth operation and decreasing the need for repairs.
- Check refrigerant levels: A low refrigerant charge is another reason why your AC can freeze up, resulting in longer run times, comfort problems and avoidable AC repairs. A technician uses special tools to check and adjust refrigerant levels as needed to ensure proper function and prevent a mid-season breakdown.
Other Ways to Reduce AC Repair Costs
Annual maintenance is a key factor in reducing AC repair costs, but here are some other tips to help your air conditioner operate reliably all summer long:
- Turn the temperature up: Increasing the thermostat setting reduces the wear and tear on your air conditioner. Find a comfortable temperature and avoid setting the thermostat any lower.
- Install a programmable thermostat: When set correctly, a programmable thermostat helps regulate your home’s temperature more efficiently, reducing the strain on your AC unit. Remember to program setback periods of 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away or sleeping to save on energy costs and further reduce wear and tear.
- Seal air leaks: Gaps and cracks around windows and doors let warm, humid air inside. Apply caulk and weatherstripping to avoid overworking your air conditioner.
- Add insulation: A proper attic insulation level promotes stable indoor temperatures and reduces your AC’s workload. If you can see the attic floor or joists poking through the existing insulation, add more.
- Block solar heat gain: The sun’s heat warms your home, increasing cooling demand. Installing window coverings and drawing the blinds or shades during the hot afternoon blocks solar heat gain and lowers the risk of a mid-season breakdown.
- Run ceiling fans: The wind chill effect created by ceiling fans makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler, allowing you to raise the thermostat setting without sacrificing comfort. It’s a good idea to shut the fan off when you leave the room, as fans cool people, not spaces.
- Use a dehumidifier: For those who live in a humid part of North America, high humidity levels can make your home feel cool but clammy, encouraging you to lower the temperature. A whole-house dehumidifier removes excess moisture, giving your AC a much-needed break.
- Make sure your vents are not obstructed: Closed or blocked air vents throw off the balance of return and supply air, which may cause your AC to break down. To avoid this, leave at least 80 percent of your registers open, and make sure no furniture, curtains or rugs unintentionally block airflow. Improve circulation further by keeping interior doors open as much as possible.
- Upgrade to an energy-efficient air conditioner: If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. In addition to improved efficiency, a new system is also less likely to break down or experience maintenance issues than an older unit, lowering your repair costs in the long run.
Schedule AC Service in Canada
By investing in regular air conditioning maintenance and adopting other recommended home-cooling habits, you’ll enjoy a comfortable interior with lower repair costs this summer. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers top-notch AC tune-ups to maximize efficiency and prolong your air conditioner’s life span. We can also upgrade your AC unit if yours is past its prime.