New things are always great, aren’t they? For example: A brand new air conditioner on a hot summer day. Sounds wonderful, right? How old is your cooling system? Okay, maybe it isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work well for you. Of course, they don’t last forever. Their average lifespan is about 15 years. It could be less, or it could be more depending on how well you take care of it. So what can you do to give your cooling system a long life? Here are four tips to keep your AC happy and healthy even if it isn’t brand spankin’ new.
1. Give it a Break
Just like the miles on a car and not just the age are what really matter, in the same way your cooling system will last longer if it doesn’t run when not needed. We recommend using a programmable thermostat that is set to turn the temperature up when you are away from home and at night. Simply moving the setting up a few degrees will make the AC work less and extend its life.
2. Check for Leaks
Air conditioning units use refrigerant to cool your home. If there is a leak, even a small one, then it has to work harder and run longer and longer every day to keep you cool and comfortable. We recommend having your AC checked before every cooling season by a service professional. Checking for leaks is one of the many things we perform during our seasonal system tune-up. If a leak is found, then have it fixed. Adding more refrigerant without trying to fix the leak is not the solution.
3. Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean
The outdoor unit contains a fan and a compressor. (Click here to read our blog post about how an Air Conditioner works.) In order to cool your home it has to pull air through the radiator-like coil that surrounds the compressor inside. Make sure there is nothing blocking the airflow on the top and that any nearby plants are cut back at least two feet from the sides. The sides of the coil should be free of leaves, clippings, and dirt. But please be careful if you try to clean it. The coil is very delicate and using high-pressure water or a brush can damage it and make things worse. This is one of the steps that a professional service company will offer in their seasonal tune-up, just like we do here at GAMA Air. If you regularly keep the outside unit clean then it will operate more efficiently and you will reduce the chance of mechanical failure.
4. Perform an Airflow Check
Proper airflow in your home is needed to ensure the air conditioner operates properly and efficiently. You should not have any furniture or other items blocking the supply registers or return air vents. Airflow is also affected if your air filter is dirty. (Click here to read about when and why to change your air filter.) You can call us at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a tune-up, and one of our technicians will be happy to show you how to do this. Keeping good airflow will ensure you keep cool and give your system a long life.
Following these four simple steps will stretch out the life of your cooling system. Signing up for a maintenance program is the best way to keep your system healthy and running efficiently all season long. If the word ‘maintenance’ raises a red flag for you then read our post “Does My System Really Need ‘Maintenance’?” to know why it is important. If you just want to ask us about our seasonal tune-ups, feel free to give us a call. Here at GAMA Air we want your air conditioning system to have a long and healthy life!
Curious about something related to your cooling system? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and let us know what’s on your mind.