Travel to Florida, and you can visit the Fountain of Youth, the area where legend says Ponce de Leon found his life-enhancing spring. You may want to dip your toe into these sulfurous waters for your own health, but you don’t need to drive your AC unit south to increase its life span. Just follow these installation and maintenance tips to keep your system humming along well into its prime.
To realize the average 12- to 15-year life span of an AC system, you must begin by properly installing the unit.
Purchase a system with the correct capacity for your home, size the ducts for the need, and provide the correct number of supply and return air registers;
- Leave enough space around the AC unit for a professional to perform maintenance and repair;
- Allow access for someone to reach and clean the evaporator coil;
- Properly seal ducts and avoid locating them in the attic;
- Ensure unhindered air flow around the condensing unit;
- Ensure the newly installed unit has the manufacturer’s recommended refrigerant charge and airflow rate;
- Install the thermostat away from heat sources such as windows and supply registers.
Use this checklist to perform routine maintenance to lengthen the life of your AC system.
- Replace ¼ inch AC filters every month during the cooling season;
- Clean evaporator and outdoor condenser coils around the AC unit, and cut back foliage at least two feet from outdoor condensers;
- Using a “fin comb,” straighten evaporator and condenser coil fins;
- Repair the seal around window units, ensuring the air conditioner fits well into the metal case;
- Prepare for winter by removing and storing window units; protect outdoor AC units by covering them;
- Check for leaks and ensure the system has the correct amount of refrigerant;
- Seal leaking air ducts;
- Measure airflow through the system, and repair any damaged or rusting ducts;
- Lubricate motors and check belts for wear;
- Check thermostat’s accuracy.
You may not believe the legend of Ponce de Leon and his fountain of youth, but you can schedule an appointment to properly install and regularly maintain your AC system, lengthening its lifespan.