In the heat of summer, a well-functioning AC system is critical for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. When it comes to servicing your air conditioner, is it possible to do it yourself? Unfortunately, the answer is both yes and no. While there are several tasks that you can perform yourself, some aspects of AC maintenance are best left to professionals.
Here is an overview of which tasks you can tackle independently and when it’s best to call in the experts.
Cleaning and Replacing Filters
One of the most critical aspects of air conditioner maintenance is regularly cleaning or replacing the filters. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can significantly decrease the efficiency of your unit. Of course, you can and should perform this task regularly (every 30-90 days, generally speaking), but an HVAC technician will also do this during a routine maintenance visit.
Cleaning the Condenser Coils
Over time, plenty of dust and debris can accumulate on the outdoor condenser coils of your AC unit. All this dirt and debris can reduce the efficiency of your system. Cleaning the coils is a task you can handle yourself, but it requires caution. An HVAC professional can also perform this task to save you time and effort.
Inspecting and Cleaning the Evaporator Coils
While cleaning the outdoor condenser coils is simple, cleaning the indoor evaporator coils can be more complicated. This task involves accessing the indoor unit, often in a cramped attic or closet. You’ll need to use specialized coil cleaner solutions, which can be hazardous. It’s always better to leave this task to a professional technician.
Checking the Refrigerant Levels
An air conditioner uses refrigerant to keep the air cool, as maintaining the correct refrigerant level is crucial for efficient operation. Low refrigerant levels can result in poor cooling performance and even damage your AC system. Checking the refrigerant level is not a DIY task; it requires specialized equipment and knowledge.
Inspecting and Cleaning the Drainage System
The condensation your AC system generates is usually drained away through a series of pipes and a drain pan. Over time, algae and mold can grow in these components, potentially causing water damage and affecting indoor air quality. If you notice any leaks or persistent clogs, it’s best to call a professional for further assistance.
Checking and Adjusting the Thermostat
Ensuring that your thermostat is functioning correctly and accurately can help maintain a comfortable indoor environment while saving energy. First, check the thermostat’s accuracy by comparing its reading to the actual room temperature using a separate thermometer. If there’s a significant discrepancy, consider replacing the thermostat or recalibrating it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Inspecting and Sealing Ductwork
Your AC system’s ductwork is responsible for distributing cooled air throughout your home. Over time, ducts can develop leaks, significantly reducing your system’s efficiency and increasing your energy bills. Inspecting and sealing ductwork is a task that requires specialized tools and expertise, making it best suited for a professional technician. These professionals can identify leaks or damage in your ducts and repair them as needed.
Annual Professional Tune-Up Services
While many maintenance tasks can be performed independently, scheduling an annual tune-up with a licensed HVAC technician is still essential. They’ll comprehensively inspect your system by checking electrical components, lubricating moving parts, and ensuring that everything is working efficiently. Professional maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns, extend the lifespan of your AC system, and keep it running at peak performance.
Closing Thoughts – Should You Use a Professional or Do It Yourself?
You can service some parts of your air conditioner, such as cleaning or replacing filters, cleaning the condenser coils, and checking the thermostat. However, other tasks, like inspecting and cleaning the evaporator coils, checking refrigerant levels, and inspecting and sealing ductwork are best left to professionals. Regular DIY maintenance and scheduling annual professional tune-ups can keep your AC system running efficiently and create a comfortable indoor environment.
MD Air Conditioning & Heating offers heating, cooling, and indoor air services for customers in the San Antonio area. Our experienced team can quickly solve problems, big or small while ensuring the job is done right. Providing quality HVAC services at fair prices is always a priority. We also pride ourselves on delivering quality customer support. Contact us at MD Air Conditioning & Heating today to learn more about using our HVAC services.Tags: AC Maintenance, AC Repair