During these hot months in Kelowna and the Okanagan your air conditioner is one of the hardest working appliances in your home. While it keeps you cool it can also run up an expensive energy bill. What can you do to ensure it is operating efficiently?
With some really basic maintenance and care you can ensure your air conditioner is operating optimally and extend its life. Of course, it is essential that you have your unit professionally serviced each season by the experienced team at Vision Mechanical Ltd., however during the rest of the year there are many steps you can take to help it function quietly and efficiently.
Neglecting regular maintenance can result in a decline in performance while energy use steadily increases. A properly maintained system does not have to work as hard so it will reduce your energy bill and your air conditioner will last longer, saving you thousands of dollars on a new system. In addition, a well maintained air conditioner is quieter and is less likely to break down, saving you money on repair and service calls.
Central air conditioners have two separate components: the condenser and the evaporator. The condenser unit is usually located outside the house on a concrete slab. The evaporator coil is mounted in the plenum or main duct junction above the furnace. Most central air conditioners are connected to a home’s forced-air distribution system. Thus, the same motor, blower, and ductwork used for heating are used to distribute cool air from the air conditioning system. When a central air conditioner is operating, hot air inside the house flows to the furnace through the return-air duct. The hot air is moved by the blower across the cooled evaporator coil in the plenum and is then delivered through ducts to cool the house. Both the evaporator and the condenser are sealed. Therefore, a professional service person from Vision Mechanical Ltd. should be called for any maintenance other than routine cleaning.
Central air conditioners should be professionally inspected and adjusted before the beginning of every cooling season (don’t worry; it is not too late to have it done now!). However, don’t let your maintenance end with this annual checkup. While there aren’t many repairs you can make yourself, there are specific maintenance procedures you can follow to keep your system operating at peak efficiency.
Caution: Before doing any work on an air conditioning system, make sure the power to the system, both to the condenser and to the evaporator assembly, is turned off.
Here are a few simple things that you can do yourself to maintain your central air conditioning system (of course, you can also call the experts at Vision Mechanical Ltd. to do this for you):
The main thing that must be done is cleaning or replacing your furnace’s air filter. It is just a matter of removing it and replacing it with another of the same size. You should do this at least every three months but it is better to check it on a monthly basis, especially during the hot summers in Kelowna when your system is working hard.
The next step in air conditioner maintenance is to wash the outside unit. Over time dirt, leaves, grass clippings, etc. build up on the outside of the unit. The result of this is lower system capacity. You will most likely see the effects of it on your electric bill.
Cleaning the unit is quite simple. First you should cut down any weeds, vines or plants that have grown around the unit as they could obstruct air follow to it. Then use a garden hose and gently wash out any dust, cobwebs, leaves or debris from the unit. Start at the top, holding the nozzle of the hose at an angle to the unit. Wash the unit thoroughly, flushing out any dirt from the fans or casing. Be careful not to bend or damage the fins – do NOT use a power washer or too much water pressure.
If your system is not performing efficiently, if it is operating more loudly or working harder than you expect, please call us at Vision Mechanical Ltd. We can inspect and service your system to ensure you stay cool this summer.
Enjoy your summer and trust Vision Mechanical Ltd. for all of your heating, plumbing and cooling needs.