How to Maintain Your AC System

Understanding how to maintain your AC system is an important part of owning your Lake Mary home, as it can save you money in energy costs as well as increase the life of the system to help to avoid unnecessary repairs. A few easy steps can keep your system running at optimal performance.

Most homes have a split system: the inside air handler for heating and cooling, and the outside condenser for cooling only. The thermostat controls and regulates the temperatures. The filter sifts out small particles of dust, hair, and other debris from the air. When is the last time you had a Lake Mary electrician look over your AC system?

A restricted air filter will cause the system to run longer, thus working the system harder and reducing the life of the system. There are different grades of filters on the market: fiberglass, pleated, and allergy grade. Choose your air filter wisely; a too-porous filter will allow some dust particles to pass through, which will eventually build up on the coils and fins. This dust build-up restricts your air flow, acting as an insulator and reducing the cooling capacity.

The filter should be changed regularly; how often depends on your usage and whether there is excessive dust or pet hair in the house. A good rule of thumb is to change your filters once every 3 months, but check your filters after one month to see if they are covered in dust. If so, you may need to change them more often.

The condensate drain should be periodically checked and cleaned out. Overflowing drains can cause water to spill down on the floor and can lead to mold and mildew. (If your air handler is located on a top floor, it is especially important to check your condensate drain regularly. Overflowing water can leak through your sub-floor, causing a leak and water damage to the ceiling  on a lower floor.

Keep the outside unit clear of shrubbery to allow for proper air circulation. If you have an older home, it is a good idea to inspect the inside/outside coils as well as the duct system to make sure there is no build up of dust or dirt. Inspect the insulation on the copper lines to be sure they are not degrading, cracking, or causing leaks in the air circulating system (this usually occurs around the joint connections). All of these parts can be cleaned with special chemicals and equipment found in your local hardware store.

Most of these things are jobs you can do yourself; if you’re still feeling intimidated, a trained Lake Mary electrician can do the more extensive work or anything else outside of the basics. Properly understanding and learning how to maintain your AC system will keep you from feeling hot under the collar as well as keep you out of the cold.

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