Keep Your Home Cool With Preventative AC Maintenance
Maintaining modern air conditioning equipment is a breeze compared to the system upkeep of generations past. Dave Borowski, director of technical training for Direct Energy, says the advances in AC technology are similar to those in automobiles.
As with modern cars, Borowski says that many air conditioner parts are solid-state. "With a solid-state device, things are sealed so you don't have problems with moisture, corrosion and oxidation."
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Yet air conditioners still have many components, so it pays to know what maintenance measures will keep things running, and how to tell if a part of your unit needs replacing:
- Notice little clues. Are your energy bills suddenly higher? Do you set the thermostat for 75 degrees and find the unit keeps running and running? "These are signs that your AC is not working as efficiently as possible," says Borowski.
- Protect against power surges. Low voltage events, like brownouts are a common source of damage to air conditioners. Borowski recommends using a switching device designed to protect the AC from damage: if the voltage goes down too far, the unit will turn itself off. An HVAC technician can install this for you.
- When in doubt, check it out. Pinpointing problems can be difficult. "Anytime your AC has unusually long running hours, high electric bills or noises, that's a sign to get a professional in to make a full evaluation," advises Borowski. "It might be an issue with the thermostat, the equipment, home insulation, or ductwork, but it takes a qualified technician to tell."
- Know when replacing is smarter than fixing. Good technicians can often get an AC running again, but sometimes replacement is more economical. Borowski's recommendation is to consider replacement if your repair bills begin hovering in the $500 range.
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