Keeping Cool: Air Conditioning Maintanence Tips
On a hot, sticky, smoggy day the sweet relief you get when walking into a cool, air conditioned room brings instant refreshment and comfort. While the GTA has had a few hot days this spring, it’s been a cooler end to this season but the next few months of real summer weather are about to test your ability to stand the heat.
According to The Weather Network’s summer forecast, the second half of summer will be the hottest part of the season in southern Ontario and we can expect to have more days of 30-degree temperatures than what we experienced over the last couple of summers. You probably have your SPF 30+ sunscreen within reach and your summer wardrobe already pulled from the basement storage closet but have you checked to make sure the A/C is working properly? You may find yourself in need of a new air conditioner install or repair and the last thing you want is to realize your unit isn’t working just as the GTA gets slammed by a heatwave.
If you don’t already, you need to think of your air conditioner as a car that needs a little love, respect and tender care to keep running at top performance levels. And just like your car, an air conditioning unit needs preventative maintenance and an annual tune-up. While there are some simple things you can do to keep your central air conditioner healthy like removing any debris (rocks, branches, dead leaves, weeds, grass clippings) from around the unit, an accredited HVAC technician is really the best person to tune and inspect your air conditioning system. After all, they’re the ones who will not only make sure there’s proper airflow coming from your cooling system they will also help you understand the purpose of the unit (it’s not just for icy air) and show you the ideal temperature and humidity settings for your needs, be it at home or the office.
It is also important to realize that the longer you wait between tune-ups, the more inefficient and unreliable your system will be and with a rundown, expensive piece of machinery like a central A/C unit, that will end up costing you more on your electricity bill to keep your home or business cool.
A professional will also properly clean the unit itself. Aside from the easy to identify filter, there are lots of other parts inside that need inspection and cleaning by a deft, experienced hand. There are pressure levels to check, coils to inspect, compressors to test, drains to clear and refrigerant leakages to watch out for.
There are a couple of other important services a professional air conditioning inspector can provide and those are an indoor air quality inspection and duct cleaning. Most of us don’t realize just how dirty the air in our homes and offices can be and there are many contributing factors you may never have even thought of. Do you live near a busy street or highway? Does your home have a moisture problem which allows mould to breed? What are the formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, asbestos and radon levels around you? What about fine particulate matter? It sure sounds like scary stuff but a trained professional can conduct a thorough air quality test to see just how healthy the air you and your family are breathing every day and if there’s a way to improve it.
Duct cleaning is also one of those chores that generally tends to be overlooked and put off. But did you know the average six-room home produces about 40-pounds of dust every year? That’s a pretty disgusting thought, especially when you consider how your central air unit effectively acts as the lungs of your home by re-circulating that air throughout all of the rooms in your house – several times per day. That’s a lot of dander, dust and chemicals floating around in your atmosphere and that could play a role in exacerbating the symptoms of anyone suffering from environmental allergies and pre-existing lung and autoimmune disorders. Duct cleaning is also a smart move because it increases the efficiency of your central air conditioner which will save you money on your monthly energy bill. When there is no build-up of particulate matter in the way, your unit is able to run much more efficiently and therefore, use less energy because it’s not huffing and puffing up the mountain trying to maintain the cooling levels you want in your home.