Dealing with an aging air conditioning system is a common problem in America. According to information provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, any air conditioning units that are older than ten should be considered for replacement. For many families, however, the cost of replacing these aging systems may not be feasible. If your family is dealing with an aging air conditioner and feeling the heat of frequent cooling system failures, the following tips can help you remove some of the stress from your current system, help it to run more efficiently and keep it running more dependably.
One: Look for Outside Issues
If your system's outside unit is kept shaded and clean, it can help your entire system work more efficiently to cool your home. Heat from exposure to direct sun, plus the heat released by the condenser can cause excessive wear on the system's components, if it is trapped by debris and cannot dissipate properly. In addition, grass clippings, acorns, leaves and accumulated dust and dirt can clog ventilation fins and create even more heat and stress on the system.
To avoid these issues, use a shop vacuum or air compressor to blow away accumulated dirt and debris before cooling season and then again each month when you change the system filter, inside the home. If your outside unit is not shaded by the trees, bushes or structures, you can provide cooling shade by installing a panel in front of the system to shade it from the sun. Make sure, however, to leave plenty of ventilation space around the perimeter of the unit, to ensure that proper air flow is maintained and allow you to easily remove any debris that accumulates there.
To build the shade you will need two steel fence posts approximately six foot in length and a 4' x 6' tarp or banner. Then:
- drive the two fence posts into the ground approximately 2' feet from the front of the unit, and 5'6" apart
- attach the 4' ends of each banner to each post at the top and bottom, stretching it tautly to make an attractive panel capable of providing shade for the unit
- decorate the tarp or banner with stenciled vines or have the kids paint a flower garden on it for visual appeal
Two: Consider Interior Obstacles
Once you have made sure the outside unit is not clogged with debris and has adequate shade from direct sun, spend some time looking indoors for obstructions that could interfere with air flow or cause your system to work harder than it should. Rooms that have been added on or remodeled after the home was built may not receive adequate air flow from the existing ducts, causing your system to over-compensate as it tries to bring the temperature down in these areas.
To address these issues, you may want to add a diverter to your duct work that will help direct and even out the air flow from your central air conditioning system, making it work more efficiently. In addition to issues with the layout of the duct work, air flow issues can also be a problem in homes that have insufficient or damaged ducts, faulty thermostats, dirty systems or clogged filters.
Three: Ward Off Repairs With Scheduled Maintenance
Aging air conditioning systems often fail due to stress on just a few key components or a general lack of overall maintenance. To avoid this problem, consider scheduling a pre-cooling season maintenance call so that your system's fans, electrical circuitry and other components can be professionally evaluated by an air conditioning repair service like McKinney Heating & Air Conditioning. Doing this can type of maintenance might help you avoid emergency calls later in the season when these components fail completely.