Top 10 Tips to Prevent Air Conditioning Problems

There’s practically nothing worse than having to deal with a broken air conditioner during a heatwave. The first signs of an upcoming breakdown may be subtle—unusual noises, odd smells or reduced cooling. Before you know it, these minor issues intensify into full-blown system failures. However, with a touch of preparation and scheduled maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Here are 10 tips to protect against AC issues this summer.

1. Replace the Air Filter Regularly

One simple yet effective tip is to check the air filter each month and replace it if it's dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter encourages smooth airflow, improves indoor air quality and raises air conditioning efficiency. A clogged or dirty filter, on the other hand, forces your AC to work overtime, which may result in breakdowns.

2. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean and Unobstructed

The outdoor AC unit needs adequate space to intake and exhaust air successfully. On a regular basis check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or twigs. Then, prune all the shrubs growing within 12 inches of the unit. These steps can minimize AC problems and improve optimal performance.

3. Check the Condensate Drain Pan

The AC doesn’t just cool the air—it also takes out excess humidity. This moisture collects in the condensate drain pan and then runs down the drain line. These components can become blocked over time, causing leaks and increasing the likelihood of water damage. Periodically look at the drain pan and line for blockages to avert these AC issues.

4. Listen for Strange Noises or Smells

Your air conditioner typically operates with a soft, steady hum. If you hear unusual grinding, screeching or hissing, you can be pretty sure something’s wrong. Similarly, if you notice unusual electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can indicate various AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and need to be addressed promptly.

5. Keep Your Vents Open

While closing vents in empty rooms may seem sensible, doing so creates pressure imbalances and decreases system efficiency. To deter AC problems, keep at least 80 percent of your return and supply vents open and clear of furniture, rugs and curtains.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are intuitive devices that enhance your air conditioner's operation and minimize problems. Once you program your preferred schedule, you can sit back and unwind while your thermostat does the hard work. Smart models are even more effective, allowing you to check and adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere or even change the settings with your voice.

7. Check Your Attic Insulation

Air conditioning efficiency doesn’t only involve the unit’s mechanics. The right amount of insulation is also essential for maintaining a comfortable interior, blocking warm air from seeping in and cold air leaking out. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation to an existing home, so peek inside the hatch to find out if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If it doesn't, you may have to add more insulation to enjoy significant energy savings and prevent overloading your AC.

8. Avoid Heat-Generating Activities in the Afternoon

Operating the oven, stove or clothes dryer when the sun is at its peak considerably increases your AC unit’s workload. When possible, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to cut down on99 unnecessary AC activity. When brainstorming what you're going to cook for dinner in the summer, think about reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating cool meals like sandwiches and salads, or barbecuing outside on the backyard grill.

9. Run a Ceiling Fan

While a ceiling fan can’t replace an air conditioning system, it can absolutely complement it. Ceiling fans create a wind chill effect that makes a room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This additional comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, limiting the workload on your air conditioner and potentially preventing AC problems. Just remember to power down the fan when you exit the room. The reason for this is because the wind chill effect cools people, but it doesn’t bring down the temperature in the room.

10. Schedule Annual AC Maintenance

Regular AC tune-ups are a preventative measure aimed at locating and fixing minor issues before they intensify into serious problems. An annual check by a skilled HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner for summer, saving you from inconvenient breakdowns and pricey repairs by making sure your AC is working efficiently.

Contact Fras-Air/General Service Experts for Air Conditioner Service in Hillsborough

Now that you know the top strategies to protect against air conditioning problems, you can follow these steps to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Whether you need to schedule a routine tune-up or emergency air conditioning repair, Fras-Air/General Service Experts has you covered. We are focused on providing thorough and efficient maintenance, repairs and installations to meet all your cooling needs. For reliable AC services in your area, call 908-448-2154 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Fras-Air/General Service Experts.

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