The average air conditioning system has a potential lifespan of fifteen to twenty years, but only if properly maintained and regularly serviced. The cost of having to replace your air conditioning system can be high, between $4,000 and $10,000, including a new furnace and installation. Common points of failure on an under-serviced air condition system are the compressors and condenser fans that contain moving parts.
If you’ve ever wondered what maintenance does and conditioner need, we’re going to answer that and give you some tips to get the longest life possible from your system.
Filters, Filters, Filters.
The easiest thing any homeowner can to extend the life of their air conditioning system is to replace their filters regularly. The standard rule-of-thumb regarding the 1” thick pleated filters is to replace them every three months, and the 4” – 5” main plenum filter should be replaced once a year. When filters get dirty, it becomes harder to draw air through them, causing your AC system to work a lot harder to cool your home.
Clean Your Coil Fins!
Your air conditioning system has two sets of copper coils that are lined with aluminum strips, used to conduct heat or cold that are called fins. These fins work to extract heat from the air from inside the home using the evaporator coil or to chill the air being re-circulated in the house using the condenser coil.
Cleaning the condenser and evaporator coil fins is important, as dust and dirt accumulate on the coils as air flows through the unit. Dirty air filters only contribute to the problem, as the dust interferes with the transfer of heat, causing your system to work up to 20% harder to cool the home. Cleaning your coil fins is a simple DIY project for the mechanically inclined homeowner or have Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning take care of it for you.
Drain That Drain Pan!
Your AC system’s condenser unit sits in a large, square box on the outside of your home, where warm air from the house is vented out, and fresh air is drawn in. This is also where the refrigerant cooling process of the circulated indoor air occurs, resulting in a good amount of condensation that needs to be routed away from the unit. Excess water is evacuated into a pan beneath the AC unit with small holes drilled near the base to allow the pan to empty.
Check your air conditioner’s drain pan regularly to ensure that the drain holes have adequate flow. Allowing AC condensation to build up and sit in the drain pan allows for the growth of mildew and mold that can infiltrate your AC system.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and grass and weed overgrowth are all potential sources of debris. Maintain the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming grass and plants back at least two feet to allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.