Another winter has come and gone, and all over the country, homeowners are scheduling their annual air conditioning system checkup from local heating and cooling services. It’s easy to forget that air conditioning units would have seemed like some kind of sorcery as recently as 100 years ago, whereas today, two out of every three homes now comes with air conditioning services.
What we’re trying to say is this: do not take your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for granted. When you’ve grown up in a home with furnaces and AC units, it’s hard to imagine spending an entire summer in a boiling home, yet that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t take proper care of your HVAC systems.
If you properly maintain these appliances, then furnaces last 15-18 years on average; boilers last anywhere from 15-30 years; and your AC unit should last 10-15 years. Of course, many people do not properly maintain these appliances, which is why American homeowners spend more than $11 billion on air conditioning repair and new units.
Yet, with just a little, tiny bit of TLC every once in awhile, you can make sure your AC lives a long and happy life. But before we talk about the best ways to maintain these appliances, you need to understand how they work.
How Does an Air Conditioner Work Anyway?
There are a few different kinds of AC units, but most homes have an outdoor unit. According to the DIY Network:
Cooling is achieved via the electric air-conditioner (or cooling cycle of the heat pump). Refrigerant gas (more commonly known by the trade name, Freon) is compressed by a compressor into a high pressure gas. The compressor pumps the high pressure gas through a radiator-like condenser coil of copper (or sometimes aluminum) tubing and aluminum fins where a large fan transfers heat to the outdoors. This is all accomplished in the outdoor component of your air-conditioning equipment.
Then, when the compressed refrigerant liquid is pumped through coils of tubing, it loses pressure and turns into a gas. While it’s vaporizing, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air circulating in the AC unit. This cooled air is then circulated throughout the home.
How Do You Keep Your Air Conditioner From Breaking Down
First, it’s important to recognize your own limits. If you don’t have a professional-level working knowledge of how the inside of your HVAC units work, then you’re likely to do serious damage during a Do It Yourself air conditioning repair. When in doubt, call for local heating and cooling services.
Second, it’s crucial that you use your AC unit correctly. Your refrigerator only has to keep a tiny area cold, but your HVAC units have to control the temperature of your entire home. If you put too much strain on your AC, then don’t be surprised when it suddenly stops working. Make sure any kids or roommates in your home leave the thermostat alone!
Third, you’ll need to change the filters on your ducts and ventilation system at least twice a year, or else. And finally, remember what we said about recognizing your own air conditioning repair limits? If you really want your AC to last 10-15 years, then schedule a checkup with local heating and cooling services once a year.