Top 10 Tips to Prevent Air Conditioning Problems

There’s absolutely nothing worse than dealing with a broken air conditioner in a heatwave. The first signs of an impending breakdown may be subtle—weird noises, odd smells or decreased cooling. Before you know it, these small issues intensify into full-blown breakdowns. However, with a small amount of planning and scheduled maintenance, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Here are 10 tips to avoid AC trouble this summer.

1. Replace the Air Filter Regularly

One simple yet effective tip is to check the air filter monthly and replace it when it appears dirty, going no more than 90 days between filter changes. A clean filter encourages smooth airflow, increases indoor air quality and improves air conditioning efficiency. An overused or dirty filter, on the other hand, makes your AC work overtime, which may result in breakdowns.

2. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean and Unobstructed

The outdoor AC unit needs sufficient space to intake and exhaust air successfully. Routinely check the area around the unit, removing loose debris like leaves, grass clippings or sticks. Then, cut back any shrubs growing within 12 inches of the unit. These steps can prevent AC problems and improve optimal performance.

3. Check the Condensate Drain Pan

An air conditioner doesn’t just cool the air—it also removes extra humidity. This moisture is collected in the condensate drain pan and then moves down the drain line. These elements can become clogged over time, causing leaks and increasing the likelihood of water damage. Periodically look at the drain pan and line for clogs to avert these AC issues.

4. Listen for Strange Noises or Smells

Your air conditioner mostly runs with a soft, constant hum. If you hear abnormal grinding, screeching or hissing, you can bet something’s amiss. Similarly, if you sniff out strange electrical burning smells or musty odors, it’s time to investigate. These issues can indicate a number of AC problems, including motor damage or mold growth, and must be addressed promptly.

5. Keep Your Vents Open

While closing vents in empty rooms may seem like a good idea, doing so forms pressure imbalances and decreases system efficiency. To avoid AC problems, keep at least 80 percent of your return and supply vents open and unblocked by furniture, rugs and curtains.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are intuitive devices that maximize your air conditioner's operation and prevent problems. Once you program your temperature schedule, you can sit back and relax while your thermostat does the hard work. Smart models are even more sophisticated, 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 depend on the unit’s mechanics. The right amount of insulation is also essential for maintaining a comfortable interior, preventing warm air from seeping in and cold air leaking out. The attic is the best place to add insulation to an existing home, so glance inside the hatch to determine if the floor is covered with a thick, even layer of insulation. If not, you may need to add more insulation to enjoy noticeable energy savings and prevent stressing your AC.

8. Avoid Heat-Generating Activities in the Afternoon

Using the oven, stove or clothes dryer when the sun is at its peak dramatically increases your AC unit’s workload. When you can, cook and do laundry in the evening or early morning to minimize99 unnecessary AC activity. When preparing dinner in the summer, consider reheating leftovers in the microwave, eating uncooked 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 conditioner, it can definitely work in conjunction with it. Ceiling fans produce a wind chill effect that makes a room feel about 4 degrees cooler. This added comfort lets you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, limiting the workload on your air conditioning system and potentially preventing AC problems. Just remember to turn off the fan when you walk out of the room. After all, the wind chill effect cools people, but it doesn’t lower the temperature in the room.

10. Schedule Annual AC Maintenance

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

Contact Norrell Service Experts for Air Conditioner Service in Birmingham

Now that you know the top ways to prevent air conditioning problems, you can follow these steps to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long. Whether you need to schedule a preventative tune-up or emergency AC repair, Norrell 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 205-267-0023 today to schedule an appointment with the Experts at Norrell Service Experts.

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