We hope that you make every effort to keep your air conditioning system in good shape during the summer. It’s in your best interests to see that the AC makes it through the season without mishap or a drop in efficiency.
However, simply making sure that the air conditioner has its annual tune-up and inspection from a professional isn’t all that’s necessary to keep it in good shape. You need to watch out for the following mistakes during the summer that can accidentally harm your AC:
- Neglecting regular filter changes: The air filter on a central air conditioner needs to be changed (or cleaned if it’s a permanent filter) once every 1 to 3 months. Check on the filter each month to see how congested with debris it’s getting. If you don’t do this, clogging in the filter will choke off the airflow, and this will result in an overstrained air conditioner—possibly one with a shorter service life.
- Allowing the condenser to become blocked or obstructed: The outside cabinet of an air conditioning system is called the condenser. It needs to have a foot clear on all sides that is free of debris, plants, trees, and any other obstructions. If you don’t keep this area regularly cleaned, it can cause damage to the internal components of the cabinet, such as bent fan blades or grime along the condenser coil.
- Letting it run all day unnecessarily: This is a common misunderstanding with air conditioning systems. People often think that since an AC uses the most power when its compressor starts up that it will save energy to turn it on only once during the day and then simply let it run—even if no one is home. It’s true that an air conditioner draws the most voltage at start-up, but it is much more wasteful to let it run for hours and hours needlessly. But even worse, this will place enough strain on the compressor that it will shorten its lifespan and risk an early breakdown.