A central air unit can last you many years. However, once installed, it's on you to do your part to make sure it meets or exceeds its rated life expectancy. In fact, if you don't take care of your new unit, you can actually lower its life expectancy. Here's what you need to know about your AC.
Your Central Air Unit Is More than One Thing
In general, manufacturers tend to rate their units for a life of 10 to 15 years. But, your central air unit isn't just one thing. It's a collection of parts. Each of those parts has its own service life.
- Evaporator coil
- Expansion valve
- Piping / Lineset
These parts can all suffer from individual wear and tear, which will lower the life of your AC overall. That means taking care of your AC also involves keeping an eye on its individual components as well. No, you don't have to have professional certification to do your part to maintain these things.
Maintaining Your Central AC Unit
Maintaining your AC comes down to developing a few new habits. Even if you don't want to tackle some of the more hands-on maintenance procedures, here are two things you can and should definitely do.
1. Don't run the AC unnecessarily – Get in the habit of turning off your AC when no one is home. Turn it down or off when it's cool outside. A programmable thermostat can go a long way towards regulating AC usage. Excessive or unnecessary use causes premature wear and tear on all the AC unit's components.
2. Check your AC's filters – Accumulation of dirt and debris can plague every aspect of your AC unit. Filters stop those particles from entering the system.
When a filter becomes clogged with dirt and dust, it obstructs airflow, which causes your AC to work harder. That in turn will cause wear and tear on your system. It can also raise your utility bill unnecessarily. This also applies to keeping your registers clean and free of obstructions as well.
The DOE's recommendations are solid, but if in doubt, you should hire a professional HVAC service for scheduled maintenances. There's a few things that only a professional should do anyway.
- Problems inside of the unit
- Refrigerant line issues
- Electrical problems
A professional can spot developing problems, and give you tips on how to maintain your specific AC unit. If you want your AC to last for a long time, you have to involve a professional from time to time. The cost involved is often far less than what you would pay if you develop a serious AC problem.
Professional AC Installation Is Key
One often-overlooked reason for premature AC failure is the installation itself. A faulty installation can introduce any number of issues. Many of those issues may not even become apparent to you until long after you've grown accustomed to using your AC.
Working with a professional air conditioning contractor will go a long way towards making sure you get every bit of life out of your AC unit. The contractor can help you choose the right size unit, and make sure it works well with your existing furnace or other heating system. Contact a business, such as Controlled Comfort, for more information about extending the life of your air conditioner.