If you want to make the most of your home's HVAC system, regular maintenance is the key, both for your furnace and your air conditioning system. When it comes to AC maintenance, most of the tasks can be performed by a professional with the help of a maintenance schedule, but there are several steps that you can take in between service calls to extend the life of your unit significantly. This will apply to both your AC and your furnace since both are tied into your home's overall HVAC system.
Change Filters Regularly
A clogged air filter can cause both your furnace and your AC to overwork and eventually burn up, causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair bills. Proper AC maintenance starts by making sure you change your home's air filters every 3 to 6 months. This can be more if you're in a particularly dirty environment, such as new construction, or if you have people in your home that suffer from allergy and breathing issues. If you need extra protection, inquire about air filters that can even reduce pet dander and more contaminants; they may be more expensive, but you can't put a price on health.
Clear the Obstructions
If your air filter is clogged, that's the biggest obstruction you'll ever have on your home's HVAC system. There are others that you need to be aware of though, such as debris that can collect on the side of your AC unit, as well as any pinched ductwork. It can be hard to identify these without specialized tools, so compare your utility bills with ones from the past. If your usage has continued to go up, that means you have a unit that is working harder. Eventually, your system will stop working altogether, so make sure you have as clear a path as you can for air to travel throughout your home.
Clean the Unit
Some homeowners are uncomfortable taking the grates off of their air conditioning unit to clean the inside, so if that's the case, make sure that you include this as part of your AC maintenance schedule with a professional HVAC company. The process is relatively straightforward, though. Simply remove the metal casing around the unit, and use a rag to wipe down the condenser coils and the fan blades. This will cause the fan blades to rotate more efficiently, but cleaning the condenser coils will prevent the system from freezing up and causing a complete shutdown. That's the last thing you want to happen, especially during the summer, and preventing this takes less than 10 minutes, at most.
For more information about AC maintenance, contact a local HVAC company, like Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division.