It's a good practice to have your AC system serviced every year before summer arrives. Your AC warranty may even require professional maintenance on an annual basis. Servicing your air conditioner involves checking the thermostat, air handler, condenser, and ducts to perform preventative maintenance and cleaning. Here are four important steps of proper AC system maintenance.
1. Clean Out the Condenser
The condenser is outside, so it can accumulate dust, leaves, dirt, and even pests like bugs and mice over the winter. The condenser has to be cleaned out, and that might include cleaning up the condenser coils too so they can remove heat from the refrigerant more easily. The coil fins along the outside of the condenser cage might be cleaned too if they're matted with leaves, dirt, or old grass clippings.
2. Check the Refrigerant Pressure
You definitely want to start summer with the right amount of refrigerant in your air conditioning system. If the level is low, your AC may run longer than it needs to, and that makes it expensive to keep your home cool. If the refrigerant is too low, your home may not cool down at all. The AC maintenance technician can check the pressure in the refrigerant line with a gauge to make sure it's okay, but if the level of refrigerant is low, repairs might be necessary.
3. Service the Blower Fan
The blower fan is an important part of the air handler. The blower moves air through the AC system, so if it doesn't have enough power, or if it is so dirty the fan can't spin freely, there won't be enough cool air blowing out of the AC vents. Servicing the blower includes taking it apart and cleaning it, as well as testing the electronic components and motor that make the fan spin.
4. Examine the Ducts
The technician might also take a look at the ducts to look for signs of damage. If a duct is open at a seam or crushed, then the problem has to be fixed. Your ducts might have a problem if you had pests, such as mice or raccoons, in the attic over the winter. You don't want chilled air leaking in the attic and being wasted, so it's good to check the ducts for damage before cooling season begins.
An AC system maintenance technician may give you a checklist that outlines everything that was cleaned, checked, tested, and replaced during the service call. Then you can have peace of mind you're complying with your warranty and that you're taking the best care of your equipment so it has a long life.