If you’re like most homeowners in south Florida, you know that having a good central air-conditioning system is a MUST in order to keep cool in the tropical weather. In fact, HVAC systems in this part of the state can run more than 12 hours a day on average! That’s a lot of hours required to maintain a comfortable temperature. But like a car or home appliance, a good AC system is a significant financial investment so it’s important to take care of it.
As experts in AC installation and repair, we’ve seen firsthand how many costly AC repairs can be avoided with simple regular maintenance. Protect your investment (and your wallet) by following these tips, most of which you can do on your own:
- Change your AC filters monthly! This is especially important during peak season, when your AC is running constantly, or if you have pets. The dirtier an AC filter is, the harder it will have to work to cool off your home (which means it won’t run efficiently).If you, or someone in your home, is particularly sensitive to allergens, dust, or odors, consider replacing your regular AC filter with a polarized-media electronic air cleaner. These air cleaners install into the same tracks as your standard filter, but use a safe 24 volt current to establish a polarized electric field that captures contaminants much more efficiently than standard filters. They also last 3-4 months, so it’s a win-win. We really like these, made by SolaceAir.
- Keep your thermostat set to 76-78F. As the mercury rises, we all get that urge to lower the temperature in the house. Resist! Keeping your thermostat consistently below this range will actually shorten the life of your air conditioner because of how hard it has to work to maintain temperature. If you need to keep your house cooler than this, regular maintenance of your unit will be even more important.
- Keep your drain lines clear. Depending on the make and model of your AC, you may be able to access your AC’s clean-out cap or plug. If so, you can dissolve the dirt and algae in your drain lines by pouring 1-2 cups of distilled white vinegar every three (3) months. If you don’t have access to the cap or plug, skip to tip #4.
- Schedule an annual maintenance check-up for your AC. Just like a car, your AC needs a regular tune-up in order to run at its best. During your appointment, a qualified air-conditioning technician do a thorough inspection of your AC unit and will ensure that your cooling coil is clean, drain is clear, and refrigerant levels are adequate.
- Replace your old, outdated AC unit. If your AC is more than 10 years old, hasn’t been regularly maintained, and is starting to require expensive repairs, consider replacing it. Buying a new AC unit is definitely an investment, but newer units are a lot more energy-efficient than older ones and will save you money in the long-term.