It's important to take proper care of your central air conditioning unit to keep it functioning effectively. Several errors in usage can decrease its efficiency, damage the equipment or make it wear out faster. 

Basic Care

Not Changing The Filter Regularly

People commonly refer to the filters as "furnace filters" and only think of changing them before and during winter. However, your central air unit uses the same air exchanger and filter as your furnace does. A dirty filter makes the equipment work harder.

If you run your air conditioner often, check the filter every month to see whether it needs replacing. You might schedule this for the same day each month on your calendar so you don't forget. Keep extra filters on hand to make the task convenient.

Not Providing Shade

The technicians who installed the unit knew the ideal location for it, which is in a place where it doesn't receive much direct sunlight. If you've changed landscaping or home features since then sot that the compressor now sits in sunshine, it has to work harder to cool the house. 

You can shade the unit by:

  • planting trees or tall bushes
  • building a fence to block the sun
  • installing a trellis with vines around or over the compressor
  • adding an overhang to the roof 

Not Providing Adequate Ventilation

Thick vegetation and fences should be at least 1 foot away on three sides and 6 inches away on one side so the exhaust ventilation can work properly. Two feet of clearance on all sides is even better. A roof overhang must be at least 4 feet away. 

Enclosing The Entire Unit In The Winter

Covering the top of the compressor during the months you're not using it keeps out debris. However, enclosing the unit entirely with a trash bag, a tarp or a cover designed or this purpose can create an inviting haven for mice and other rodents. Instead, place a piece of plywood over the top or buy a special device that only covers the top part of the unit. 

Not Scheduling Annual Maintenance

Annual maintenance and inspection keeps your central air system in good working order and identifies potential problems before a breakdown. Have a specialist like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. perform these services around the time of year when you start using your heating and cooling system the most.  

Unit Operation

Running The System On Cold Days

It's inadvisable to run the central air when it's cold outside; that can damage the system. People can become tempted to turn on the air conditioning while cooking a huge holiday meal, for example, or when so many people are in the house for a get-together that the heat increases noticeably. Open a window or two instead. 

Leaving The Thermostat At The Same Setting

You increase your electric bill if you leave the central air running at the same temperature all the time, even when you're not home. Instead, set the thermostat several degrees higher when you head out to work or go out of town for a day. It doesn't take nearly as much energy for the system to cool down a house that's a little warm than it does to run all the time. 

Not Using Fans

Running a floor or ceiling fan helps cool you down and distributes the air around a room. You likely can set the thermostat higher when you run fans, which will cost less in electricity.  

Concluding Thoughts

If you already need air conditioning repair, call a service to get the equipment working properly again. In the future, you can avoid problems by treating your central air system well and having routine maintenance done as recommended.