Santa Rosa gets hot in the summer, and residents know how important it is to stay cool when that happens. There’s a difference between knowing how important it is to stay cool and understanding how to make it happen, though. A lot of people in the Santa Rosa area own air conditioners, but you might be surprised by how few of them understand summer AC maintenance. Then again, maybe you’re one of those Santa Rosa residents who wants to gain a better understanding of the way your cooling systems work. If that’s the case, you’ll benefit from this article and our tips for maintaining your system during the hottest months of the year.
The first and most important tip for AC owners is to have a good service technician on call for emergency situations and get a check-up at least once a year. Okay, we know that might sound a little obvious—but we feel the need to say it nonetheless. After all, many people avoid calling in a technician until the very last minute, which gives minor problems the time to develop into much costlier issues. Having a reliable technician and calling them as soon as you notice a malfunction is one of the best ways to keep your cooling system running when you need it, and it saves you money over the long term too.
That said, there are plenty of things you can do by yourself to keep your air conditioner in reasonably good health throughout the summer. To start with, you’ll need to know a little about the most important parts of your cooling system, and which of them can be worked on without specific skills.
One of the absolute most crucial aspects of any air conditioner is its ability to circulate air throughout the space it’s cooling. To do this, it relies on a system of ductwork that runs throughout a building. For example, if your whole house has central heating and air then there’s probably ductwork running to every room. Even the most efficient ductwork isn’t enough by itself, though—you need the air moving through those ducts to be fresh and clean at all times.
Clean air confers some health benefits, such as reducing the risk of asthma or allergies. It also makes the people who breathe it in considerably more refreshed, helping to establish that comfortable feeling often associated with a quality air conditioner. To make sure the air entering your system is always clean, your air conditioner’s outdoor unit has a filter that needs periodic changing (ideally once a month in the summer). The good news is that you can usually change this filter yourself, making this task a must for homeowners who want to keep their cooling systems in good shape.
The Outdoor Unit
While you’re outside changing your filter, have a look at the area surrounding your outdoor unit. Is it clean and clear, or is it messy and cluttered? If the two feet or so around the opening of your outdoor unit is littered with twigs, leaves, yard trimmings or other debris, there’s a chance that these materials can make their way into your system and rot, contaminating the air that flows throughout your home. You can prevent this from occurring by walking around the outdoor unit each weekend and clearing junk away from the opening.
Indoor Maintenance: Ducts and Drains
There are a few things you can do inside your home to help maintain your unit during the summer too. Initially, you may want to walk around inside your home and check any visible seams on your ductwork. If your HVAC technician is a pro, they probably used dependable sealing materials to connect your ducts, but some installers cut corners by using things like tape—which is only ever a temporary solution. Check for tape or other ineffective sealants, which could indicate a leak—and call for help if you find any. This will help bump up your cooling system’s efficiency, keeping you more comfortable throughout the summer.
When you’ve finished looking over your ducts, take a peek at your condensate drain. Blocked drains sometimes cause water to puddle near your indoor unit, which can cause further damage to your system. Finally, try to lubricate any moving parts in your air conditioner on a seasonal basis. This will keep them from wearing out too soon, saving you from needing replacements shortly.
It Pays to Be Careful
Having professional help on hand is never a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your cooling system in good shape by yourself. Put yourself in the habit of checking the features listed above, and you’ll see that maintaining a functional AC throughout the blistering Santa Rosa summer is easier than you may have anticipated. Contact us for more information.