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Tune–up your AC unit and get ready for the heat
When your air conditioner is fully operational, it can keep you comfortable during the hottest days of the year. It’s imperative, therefore, that you maintain your AC unit throughout its lifetime. Spring is a great time to think about how you might tune–up your AC.
To tune–up your AC means inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and, if necessary, replacing parts of your system. To be done properly, much of this work requires the expertise of an air conditioning professional. A properly installed and serviced AC unit will maximize your energy–efficiency, and will help to save you money.
The first step is to call a professional. An expert technician will be able to assess any issues in the compressor, coils, refrigerant levels, electrical supply and thermostat. Attempting to do so yourself may be dangerous and could prove costly. Here a few maintenance tune–ups even the most efficient air conditioners could benefit from:
- Clean or replace the air filter. Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your AC unit. It promotes airflow and prevents the passage of dust and other allergens from entering your ductwork or home. If you are highly–sensitive to allergens, particularly those that come about in the spring time, then this is an absolute must. Air filters also keep the parts of your AC unit working properly by preventing the accumulation of dust and other materials on the internal structure. Check your air filter monthly.
- Insulate the ductwork. Your ducts are the structural skeleton of your indoor air system. They make the measured and even distribution of cool air possible, but they depend upon a closed system. As well as repairing or sealing any duct leaks and testing that the system is efficient, insulating ductwork tends to significantly reduce heating and cooling loss, sometimes up to 30%. By sealing air leaks, your cooling professional may be able to save you serious money this spring and summer.
- Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize your home temperature for specific times of the day and days of the week. Not only will adjusting your temperature automatically cut costs, but it is also takes care of your home comfort for you.
Remember that only a professional AC technician can tune–up your system for this upcoming cooling season. Call one today.
The Importance of Changing your Filters
Virtually all heating and cooling systems in your home involve some kind of filtration process. In many of your major units, such as the furnace or central AC units, it is crucial that your air filters remain free of excessive debris, dust and any other materials that may have found their way in. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks. When controlling or eliminating the pollutant source and clean outdoor air are not always possible, the next step is proper air filtration.
Your filters are made of various fibrous materials, from synthetic media to poly/cotton blends; and often produced with particular surface textures, such as pleats in order to maximize their effectiveness. They may be installed in the ductwork of a forced air conditioning system to clean the air in the entire house. Mechanical air filters are the most common in residential applications: they work by capturing them on filter materials. HEPA (high–efficiency particulate air) filters are popular for homeowners, but it’s important to balance indoor air filtration with energy–efficiency. The installation of an improper filter may unnecessarily cut down on the passage of your cooled air. Understanding the right air filter for your home system can be difficult, but your local air conditioning technician can help.
In considering the importance of air filtration, you may come across something called MERV, which is an acronym for "minimum efficiency reporting value." This scale rates the effectiveness of air filters, and allows for accurate assessment of home health and comfort, reducing costs and increased energy efficiency in all aspects of heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a larger percentage of captured particles on each pass. . For example, an air filter with a MERV rating between 1 and 4, like those often found in window AC units, should be able to capture pollen, dust mites, sanding dust, and other particles. In high–end commercial applications, air filters with MERV 9–12 can capture bacteria, lead dust and milled flour.
Air filters are often the first step to ensuring your air conditioning system’s longevity. When air filters become clogged, they can cause your AC system to overwork itself. In these cases, the filter has become not so much a screen for capturing particles as an obstruction in its own right. Routine inspection, cleaning and replacement of your air filter should be part of every homeowner’s spring tune–up. Contact your local air conditioning professional today.