As the summer season approaches, it is time to get your air conditioner ready for warm weather. In the various provinces of Canada, temperatures range from moderate to hot during the summer months, with high humidity in many regions including Toronto, Montreal and New Brunswick. The best way to avoid untimely breakdowns and air conditioning repair during the hot months is to make sure your unit is in good working order before warm weather begins. A well-maintained unit uses less energy to operate, saving both fuel and money.
Seasonal Maintenance Check-Ups
Seasonal maintenance check-ups performed by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals are recommended by most major air conditioning manufacturers. Some require annual tune-ups to keep warranties valid.
A check-up should examine all elements of the air conditioning unit and include:
• Cleaning or replacing the filter, as needed
• Lubricating all moving parts including fans
• Cleaning the housing of the condenser and compressor
• Checking refrigerant levels
• Cleaning drains and tubing
• Cleaning grilles and joins with duct work for central systems
• Examining electrical wiring and connections
• Leveling and cleaning the thermostat
• Ensuring that the unit cycles on and off properly
Ways to Avoid Breakdowns and Reduce Air Conditioning Repair
One of the main causes of air conditioner failure is a dirty filter. All units, whether window units or central systems, have filters that capture dust, debris and other airborne particulates. Clogged filters make a unit work harder and compromise energy efficiency. Dirty filters cause pollutants to recirculate, affecting the air you breathe. A clean filter helps keep your indoor air fresh and clean. Regularly cleaning or changing filters according to manufacturer’s directions reduces the frequency of breakdowns and the need for costly air conditioning repair.
Keeping thermostats clean and level helps the HVAC unit cycle on and off properly. Dirt can affect the calibration, resulting in incorrect temperature readings. A thermostat reading off by even a few degrees makes a unit run more frequently or for longer periods, increasing fuel bills by up to 7 percent. Programmable thermostats regulate temperatures based on your lifestyle so that rooms are not cooled when you are away.
If you don’t have air conditioning or if your unit is more than 10 years old, installing an energy-efficient model can save between 30 and 50 percent on utility bills. New units have advanced technology like inverter and variable-speed scroll compressors that adjust to current fluctuations. These features save energy and maintain comfortable indoor humidity and temperature levels.
One of the most important aspects of installing a new air conditioner is to make sure that the unit is properly sized for the area to be cooled. A unit that is too large will not run long enough to remove humidity, resulting in a clammy feeling. One that is too small will cycle on and off too frequently, overworking the system. A licensed HVAC contractor will evaluate the areas to be cooled and make recommendations for an air conditioning system that is appropriately sized for the space. Improperly sized units result in frequent air conditioning repair and an uncomfortable indoor environment.