Like any other household appliance, your central air conditioner will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. However, there is a lot that you can do to ensure that you get as much time out of your air conditioner as possible. Here are four ways that you can maximize the lifespan of your central air conditioner.
Outdoor Condenser Maintenance
The condenser is one of the most vulnerable parts of your central air conditioner because it is exposed to the elements. Regular condenser maintenance can help to protect your condenser from the negative effects of being outside and keep it running longer.
The biggest problem that outdoor condensers face is airflow blockage. To keep your condenser running at peak efficiency, grass and weeds that grow up around the sides of the condenser should be trimmed back so that they are not blocking the metal fins on the side of the unit.
After you have trimmed the greenery around your condenser, you should turn your attention to the fins themselves. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can create blockages by getting lodged between the fins. To clean the fins, you can first try using a vacuum hose attachment to remove the debris from the outside. If this is not effective, turn the power off to the condenser, remove the top fan, and use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to spray the fins from the inside.
Inspect Ducts and Repair Gaps
Ducts that are leaking air will greatly reduce the efficiency of your central air conditioner. You can visually inspect the ducts in your basement and attic to locate gaps that are leaking air. To repair gaps, rejoin any disconnected sections of ductwork and cover gaps or punctures with metallic foil tape. You can also choose to insulate your ductwork to further increase your air conditioner's efficiency.
Maintain Good Indoor Airflow
Your central air conditioner is balanced to provide even cooling throughout your home. When airflow is blocked in one room, it affects your entire system and forces it to work harder to deliver the same amount of air. Rather than shutting the registers in unused rooms, adjust your thermostat settings until they are comfortable with every register left open.
Furniture that is placed close to or on top of registers can also reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner. Even if furniture is not blocking airflow completely, furniture that is placed too close to registers can disrupt the circulation of the air that enters the room. This will force you to run your air conditioner longer by increasing the time it takes for the room to cool.
Use Alternative Cooling Methods
Understandably, the less you use your air conditioner, the longer it will last. When possible, you should utilize other cooling methods to give your air conditioner a break, instead of relying on the AC as the only method of cooling your home.
Using ceiling fans and box fans instead of your air conditioner is sometimes enough to stay cool while using very little energy, and they are especially effective if you only need to cool one room. Consider using blinds and heavy curtains on your windows to block out the sun's heat in the summer. Take advantage of the exhaust fan in your kitchen when you are using the stove, and limit the use of dryers and other heat-generating appliances to cooler parts of the day.
It is easy to extend the life of your air conditioner with good home cooling habits and a few simple maintenance steps. Use these tips to keep your central air conditioner running smoothly for years to come. For more tips, or if your air conditioner needs repairs, contact a local company like All American Air & Electric, Inc. that offers air conditioner services.