Isn’t it great to get something new? For instance: A brand new air conditioner on a hot summer day. Sounds great, right? What about your central air 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. An average lifespan for a residential air conditioner is about 15 years. It could be less, or it could be more depending on how well you take care of it. What can you do to give your cooling system a long life? Here are four tips for our friends and neighbors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area to keep your AC happy and healthy and running smoother than a baby’s bottom, even if it isn’t brand spankin’ new.
Give it a rest
Think of the age of your car. Isn’t it true that what really matters is how many miles are on it, and not just what year it was made? In the same way your air conditioner will last longer if it doesn’t run any more than you need it to. We recommend installing a programmable thermostat that is set make your central air units run less when you are away from home and at night time. Simply changing the temperature setting a few degrees will make the AC work less and extend its life.
Look for leaks
Air conditioning units use refrigerant to cool your home. If there is a leak, even a small one, then it has to use more and more energy 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 recommended.
Keep it clean
The outdoor unit contains a fan and a compressor. (Click here to read Part 3 of our AC 101 blog series.) To cool your home air has to flow through the radiator-like coil that surrounds the compressor inside. Make sure there is nothing within three feet of the top of the unit (or in front if it is a forward-facing unit) that could restrict airflow coming out. For example, have bushes or other plants grown too close? Make sure you have at least two feet on all sides where air is being pulled into the unit. Also, check to be sure the sides of the coil are free of leaves, grass clippings, dirt, etc. But please be careful if you try to clean it. Don’t use a broom, a brush or high-pressure water to clean it. That could damage it and make things worse. You can remove by hand serious buildup of debris. But for a thorough cleaning contact a trusted, professional service company that will offer such a cleaning as part of 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.
Check the airflow
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. You can call us at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a tune-up, and one of our skilled service 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.
Signing up for a maintenance program will keep your system healthy and running efficiently all season long. If the word ‘maintenance’ raises a red flag for you then read our post about why maintaining your central heat and air system is so 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 conditioner to live long and prosper!
Curious about something related to your cooling system? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page, let us know what’s on your mind, and get a quick answer from our resident heating and AC expert.