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AC Maintenance Checklist: A Summer Guide

Summer is already here and coming with it is the inevitable rise of temperatures across Central Pennsylvania! With over 70 years of experience serving our community, we want to advise everyone to consider getting an air conditioner tune-up before the heat sets in. 

AC maintenance is a critical task in order to keep your home and business’s indoor environment feeling comfortable and safe while maintaining clean air quality. Being complacent with maintenance, on the other hand, can lead to an uncomfortable or even dangerous living and working space. From the air conditioning experts at WM Buffington, here is a comprehensive checklist for proper AC maintenance this summer. 

The Importance of AC Maintenance 

If your air conditioning unit does not receive proper maintenance it can become less efficient, less powerful, and incur unnecessary strain. On one hand, an underperforming AC unit will decrease the comfort of your home when you need it most, giving you less cool air even when you’re paying the same amount or more. On the other hand, unnecessary strain on AC units not only increases energy usage and utility costs but can lead to more wear and tear, ultimately ending in the premature failure of the system. Without maintenance, you can expect compromised air quality that is potentially harmful to you, your family, and visiting friends. For businesses, a faulty air conditioning system can even impact productivity as well as employee and customer satisfaction. 

The importance of AC maintenance is undeniable, so let’s dig into the things you should cross off your list before the summer heat arrives in the next couple of months. 

1. Schedule a Maintenance Checkup 

The first and most comprehensive step you should take to give your air conditioner a tune-up this summer is to schedule a maintenance checkup with a qualified HVAC technician. By doing this first, you can knock off the rest of your AC maintenance checklist without having to take it on by yourself without the necessary experience and equipment. 

A maintenance checkup should include cleaning and inspecting the system's evaporator and condenser coils, checking the refrigerant levels, and testing the system's electrical components. You can also expect the air filter to be changed if needed, the outdoor unit to be cleaned, and other repairs should your system require it. 

If you decide not to schedule a maintenance checkup, proceed to the following checklist items to make sure your AC is well taken care of. 

2. Replace Air Filter

One of the most important maintenance tasks is to replace your air conditioner’s air filter. Filters attract a lot of dust and debris in order to maintain your home’s air quality, but over time they can become clogged. A clogged air filter will directly lead to lower air quality and a decreased efficiency that causes strain on your system’s components, and as we covered previously, that strain can cause further damage or even the eventual breakdown of your AC unit completely. 

3. Clean Outdoor Unit

Another great way to maintain your AC unit and ensure that it operates efficiently and effectively this summer is to thoroughly clean the unit itself. Units that are located on the outside of your home or building can begin to accumulate dust and debris, so be sure to clear any bushes, twigs, weeds, and dirt from around the unit. Also, consider removing the protective cover and cleaning the condenser coils with a vacuum cleaner - be careful to avoid damaging the coils, electrical parts, or the fan. 

4. Check or Upgrade Thermostat

Your thermostat plays a crucial role in controlling the temperature of your home or company’s building. Before summer arrives, test your thermostat to make sure it is working properly. If you have an older thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable model, which can help you save money on your energy bills by automatically adjusting the temperature at different times of day, or automatically ensuring it is off during the night.

5. Inspect Ductwork

Ducts allow the cooled air from your air conditioner to pass through the entire home or building and be equally distributed. Unfortunately, leaky ducts can result in significant energy loss and reduced efficiency. Inspect your ductwork for any signs of damage, and for DIYers, consider sealing any leaks with duct mastic or foil-backed tape. If your ducts are poorly insulated, consider adding insulation to improve energy efficiency.

6. Test the AC System 

Once you’ve completed your cleaning and maintenance, be sure to turn on your AC unit to ensure it’s operating properly. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations, check the airflow in all your vents, and test whether the thermostat adjusts the temperature with relative responsiveness. If you notice any issues and cannot identify or fix them yourself, consider calling a professional for an air conditioner tune-up and inspection. 

7. Upgrade If Necessary 

In some situations, such as if your air conditioner unit is old or has significant damage through strain and wear, it might be necessary to invest in an air conditioner upgrade. If your air conditioner is older than 10 years, newer models will provide you with far more energy and cost-efficiency. Furthermore, a new AC unit often comes with a programmable thermostat and  advanced filtration features, and it will significantly contribute to a more comfortable environment for less overall expense. 

Schedule a Summer Maintenance Checkup Today

AC maintenance is an absolute necessity with summer right around the corner. It’s a vital task to keep your system running efficiently and effectively while simultaneously prolonging its lifespan. There’s no doubt your family, employees, and customers will thank you when the heat sets in! If you’re in Central Pennsylvania, contact the professionals at WM Buffington for an air conditioner tune-up today! 

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