Everyone dreams of splurging on their ideal car. You might save up for your entire life before investing in a Ferrari or Mercedes that you can't wait to take on the road.
But even if you've worked hard and saved for years to get this car, your investment won't pay off unless you take the time to properly care for and maintain the car. If you don't perform proper maintenance, your vehicle will wear down after only a few years, and your initial investment will go to waste.
Of course, most people don't think about their air conditioners in the same terms as their cars. But if you purchased a quality air conditioner when you first became a homeowner, the same principle about protecting your investment through maintenance holds true. Your HVAC unit might not transport you around the city in style, but it does ensure your family members stay comfortable and happy at home.
However, maintaining your A/C offers you more perks than extending your air conditioner's life. Proper maintenance will also keep it in top condition and save you money, both in the long-term and on this month's utility bill. Learn more below.
How Your Air Conditioner Works
An air conditioner is a rather extraordinary piece of machinery, and it's one that has brought comfort to millions of homeowners around the world. It started as a relatively simply idea: blow a fan over a block of ice so that the cool air wafts through the room. But today's air conditioners are much more advanced.
A modern air conditioner uses principles of chemistry and physics to cool your home. When a liquid becomes a gas, it absorbs heat, so air conditioners transform a liquid refrigerant into cool air over and over again. This process is completed by a series of coils-as warm, outside air flows over these coils, the heat is absorbed into the liquid and subdued when it becomes gas. Fans then circulate the cool air.
Put simply, your A/C is one complex machine. If you want it to keep your family happy through the uncomfortably warm summer months, it needs a little care and maintenance to work efficiently.
How Maintenance Can Help You Save
Professional maintenance on your A/C is best done in the spring, before you begin to use your unit every day to stave off summer heat. Annual maintenance helps you save money in four important ways.
1. Maintenance increases your A/C's energy efficiency.
Your air conditioner is built to operate at maximum energy efficiency, but time can lower your A/C's ability to function perfectly. For example, over time, dirt may clog a filter, which means that your A/C will have to work harder to produce the same amount of cool air.
Maintenance ensures that your A/C achieves optimal energy efficiency, and doing so immediately lowers your energy bill. As an added perk, a highly efficient A/C unit lowers your home's carbon footprint and ensures that your energy use stays relatively low.
2. Maintenance reduces the need for expensive repairs.
Think back to our new-car example. Paying a service fee to get the engine periodically checked is less expensive than paying to have the entire engine repaired after just a year or two. Just as with a regular car checkup, an annual A/C tune-up will help your technician spot little problems and prevent them from turning into large, costly repairs.
3. Maintenance extends the life of your equipment.
Routine maintenance helps you avoid the need to purchase an entirely new air conditioner every five years. Stress on your system can cause it to age prematurely, and that stress comes from worn down, dirty, or overworked equipment. Maintenance ensures that year after year, your A/C functions well and lives a long life.
4. Maintenance improves the air quality in your home.
The air quality in your home affects your family's health. If any of your family members suffer from asthma or another respiratory illness, the dirty air that comes from an old, poorly maintained A/C unit can exacerbate their symptoms.
Think about it this way: when your respiratory system is aggravated by the dust, allergens, and dirt in the air, you go to the doctor more often. Cleaner air will ensure that you spend less money each year on health care, but more importantly, it will mean that your family is safe and healthy.
What Your HomeSmart A/C Technician Will Do
Your HomeSmart air conditioning specialist knows how to maintain your A/C so that you save money each month on your Xcel Energy utility bill. When your A/C technician arrives for your annual tune-up, he or she will most likely perform the following maintenance tasks:
- Thoroughly inspect your air conditioner, furnace, and the rest of your HVAC system.
- Clean all moving parts and vents.
- Lubricate moving parts.
- Change air filters.
- Perform safety and electrical testing.
- Run performance tests to ensure energy efficiency.
- Make any small repairs.
There are also a few things you can do to help your A/C function at optimal capacity. The following ideas can help:
- Keep the outdoor component of your A/C clean-spray it gently with the hose every once in a while.
- Replace the air filter at least once a month.
- Keep furniture and drapes away from vents, and keep vents open.
- Keep plants from growing too close to the outdoor component of your A/C.
Have questions? Your HomeSmart A/C specialist can help. Lower your monthly energy bill and call HomeSmart today to schedule your A/C tune-up and maintenance, 1-866-837-9762.