Nobody's perfect, especially when it comes to operating and maintaining an air conditioning system. Unfortunately, many of these missteps could easily prove costly under the right circumstances. It's why it pays to avoid the following air conditioning mistakes described below:
Mistake #1: Not Changing Its Air Filter
In many cases, it's the simplest and easiest thing you can do to keep your air conditioner in top shape. Unfortunately, it's very easy for this step to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Besides, it doesn't seem like your A/C system is hurting just because you've skipped out on a few filter changes...or is it?
Letting your air filter get clogged up makes it much harder for your A/C system to pull the airflow it needs to operate efficiently. Without sufficient air flow, other components like your blower fan motor have to operate longer and harder to make up for the lost air flow. Eventually, your A/C system won't be to cool properly, if at all.
Most experts recommend that you change your A/C system's air filter at least every three months. Others recommend changing it on a monthly basis, especially if you want to improve your home's indoor air quality and ensure optimal A/C performance at the same time.
Mistake #2: Letting Your Air Conditioner Run Constantly
Letting your air conditioner run at full blast all day long isn't just a waste of energy. It also adds unnecessary wear and tear to the various components inside of your A/C system. An air conditioner that's allowed to run 24 hours a day won't last long under the added strain.
In a home that's sufficiently insulated and sealed against outdoor temperatures, it only takes a few minutes of runtime for your air conditioner to bring higher temperatures down to your desired level. You won't even need your air conditioner if your home is empty for most of the day. You can take advantage of the potential energy savings by turning up your thermostat by several degrees when no one is home.
At night time, you can take advantage of the lower outdoor temperatures by leaving your air conditioner off or raising the thermostat temperature by a few degrees. A 1-degree bump on your thermostat setting could save 4 to 8 percent on your cooling costs, in many areas.
Mistake #3: Allowing Your Air Conditioner to Freeze Over
The last thing you expect from your air conditioner as it works to keep your home cool is for it to turn into a block of ice. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that can happen from time to time. The cause is usually linked to low refrigerant levels (usually caused by a refrigerant leak) or insufficient airflow to the unit itself.
Not only should you make sure there's no debris or vegetation around the outside cabinet of the A/C unit, you should also have your technician check for adequate refrigerant levels. You may have to spend the next hour or two allowing your central A/C system to naturally thaw before it begins working again.
Mistake #4: Not Having Your Air Conditioner Serviced
This is perhaps the biggest mistake of them all. Your air conditioner relies on timely, reliable service from a trained and certified HVAC technician. Ideally, you should have your technician check up on your home's A/C system at least once a year. With the expertise and experience of your HVAC technician, you'll be able to find and fix potential problems before they turn into major concerns.
The consequences of poor maintenance can be devastating in terms of your home comfort and budget. Without maintenance, parts such as the compressor, blower fan motor and evaporator coil can fail prematurely and without warning. These issues usually cost much more to fix than simply giving your HVAC system the preventative maintenance it needs.