7 Tips to Extend the Life of Your AC – Part 1

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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We all want to maximize the return on our investments.  And let’s be honest, your AC system is an investment. With the right care and attention, you can extend your AC unit’s lifespan while ensuring it is performing at peak efficiency.

At Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we provide a wide range of HVAC services for our Gaithersburg clients, including AC maintenance and repairs. For those clients who want to learn more about their HVAC system and play a role in their system’s maintenance, we have a selection of free guides and resources. 

We will cover several ways in which you can extend the life of your AC in this two-part blog series. For a more in-depth list of Do’s and Don’ts you can download our Extending The Life Of Your Air Conditioner guide.

extending AC lifespan cleaning

Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean

While it seems obvious, you’d be surprised at how often the outdoor unit gets overlooked. Because it is constantly exposed to the elements, it can become clogged with dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris. When clogged it will put a strain on the system making it work harder and less efficiently.

To clean, remove any large pieces of debris and leaves from on and around the unit. Next, trim back surrounding bushes and remove low-hanging branches. Finally,  using a garden hose – not a pressure washer – carefully spray down the fins to remove any smaller particles and dirt. Remember to always turn off the power to the unit before starting any cleaning!

Utilize Fans 

While ceiling fans and portable fans don’t cool the air, they do circulate the cool air generated by your air conditioner. This can allow you to raise the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees without reducing your comfort. Just these few degrees will reduce strain on your system and may help reduce your energy costs.

You will want to run your AC and the fans simultaneously. And make sure that your ceiling fan is running counterclockwise so it creates a downward draft to circulate the cool air around you. In colder months, as you’re trying to stay warm, you will want to change the direction of your ceiling fan to clockwise. 

In the spring and fall, open the windows when the weather is cooler to help keep your home comfortable without having to rely on the AC unit. This will give it a much-needed break and help increase its lifespan.

Check Vents for Airflow

Inside your home, check your vents. Check to make sure you aren’t covering your vents with furniture, bedding, or drapes. You will also want to check that your vents are open. 

If you still feel you aren’t getting adequate airflow, then it is likely your filters are dirty. Either replace your filter – if it is the disposable kind – or wash thoroughly to remove all of the collected dust and dirt. 

Unobstructed vents and clean filters will help ensure that air is able to flow freely and that your AC unit isn’t working harder than necessary.

Programmable Thermostat 

Programmable thermostats help you maximize your HVAC system. They allow you to maintain precise temperatures throughout your home based on your customizable schedule – warmer when you’re away at work, cooler when you are home. You can also program your home into zones with similar cooling requirements – cooler in the bedrooms. 

Your home becomes more efficient, utilizing your resources more effectively, and better preserving your systems when you use a programmable thermostat.  More efficiency = less wear and tear = extended lifespan.

Only Use the Dryer at Night

This suggestion may not be one you would necessarily think of. After all, throwing a load of clothes in the washer and dryer while working from home helps you be more efficient with your time. Unfortunately, running the dryer during the heat of the day puts a strain on your air conditioner as it has to work harder to offset the additional heat generated. Wait till the sun has set and the temperatures have dropped before tackling the laundry.

Energy Efficient Window Treatments

Another way you can help keep your home cooler (and therefore reduce the strain on your AC unit) is by utilizing blinds, shutters, and curtains. These can help to block out the sun’s heat – and those damaging UV rays, making it easier for your AC unit to keep things cool inside.

Here are three energy-efficient window treatments

  1. Honeycomb or cellular shades are the most energy-efficient window coverings available. The cell pockets trap air around your windows helping to keep your room cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 
  2. Shutters are a solid window covering that traps unwanted air between the glass and the shutter.
  3. Drapes, especially those lined with a thermal lining, and those in darker colors will block out the heat and harmful UV rays. 

Regular Preventive Maintenance

The single most important thing you can do to maximize the life of your AC unit and avoid air conditioning repairs is to get regular AC maintenance.  Between your own maintenance checks (batteries in the thermostat, cleaning the filters) and those provided by our team, regular preventive maintenance is key to maximizing your AC unit’s lifespan. Preventative maintenance, like what we provide with Presiential’s Advantage Plan, can help identify and fix small issues before they turn into big (and expensive) problems.

In addition, preventive maintenance can also help to improve your AC unit’s efficiency, meaning that it won’t have to work as hard (and won’t break down as often).

For more on how to maximize the lifespan of your AC, or to learn about any of our HVAC services in Gaithersburg or nearby areas, speak to the team at Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today.

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