Summer in Toronto and the GTA can be unbearable without an air conditioner that’s functioning properly. While it’s important to schedule annual air conditioner maintenance with a reputable company like Air Tech, homeowners can do more than they think when it comes to air conditioner maintenance. Essentially, there are a few important steps that can be taken prior to flipping your thermostat over to cooling from heating in the spring. Understanding the basics of your air conditioner is the best place to start understanding the importance of air conditioner maintenance.
The Basics of Air Conditioning
Understanding how your systems works is a great way to understand the importance of air conditioner maintenance. A central air conditioning system consists of 3 main components:
- A Condenser
- A Blower
The condenser is the large metal box that you see outside of your home. This regulates the temperature of the refrigerant or Freon, which travels back and forth from the condenser to the inside of your home. The condenser pressurizes the Freon gas and turns it into a liquid, which is now at a high temperature. It then gets sent back into the house to the blower unit. As it comes in contact with the blower unit it becomes a gas again and as a result, becomes much colder. This cold Freon gas then enters the blower coil, which is located in your duct system and cools the air that is blown over it and into your duct system and out into your home. The cycle is repeated until the temperature set by the thermostat is reached.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how your air conditioning system works it’s easy to see why certain components should be maintained by professional HVAC technicians, but here are a few things that you can do as a homeowner.
Air Conditioner Maintenance: Filters
Your system’s filter is typically located at the blower unit where the duct system meets the condenser. Airflow is the most important part of your entire system, so ensuring that your filter is clean and changed regularly is essential to the efficiency and viability of your system. If your filter gets too dirty and restricts airflow it can dramatically impact your system’s efficiency, how well it cools your home, and even cost you money as efficiency drops.
Air Conditioner Maintenance: Water Damage
Warm air is continually passing over your cooling coil, which means condensation will occur and beads of moisture are created on the coils. Typically this moisture is sent through a tube and into a drain in your basement or a pan located under the unit. If your unit isn’t draining properly this water can cause damage to other components of your unit and even result in mold growth if not addressed.
Air Conditioner Maintenance: Obstructions
As mentioned one of the most important things in your air conditioning system is airflow. This also includes the airflow to the condenser unit outside. In order to operate properly, the condenser unit needs to have a decent amount of airflow. When things like trees, bushes, patio furniture, and shrubs restrict airflow your unit has to work harder to do its job, which reduces its effectiveness and efficiency.
There are a few easy things to monitor when it comes to your duct system:
- Ensure that the vents in your duct system aren’t obstructed in any way and can easily distribute cool air throughout your home.
- Check your system for mold: Condensation can accumulate in parts of your duct system and this moisture can turn into mold if not addressed. Cleaning your vents and duct system is one of the best ways to keep your home free of mold.
- Basements are traditional cooler than the rest of a house, so it’s ideal to adjust the dampers of your duct system in the basement to force more cool air to the upper levels of your home in the summer.
Overall understanding your air conditioning system is the best way to take care of it and perform some basic air conditioner maintenance in between professional air conditioner maintenance appointments.