If you live in an older home equipped with central air conditioning, it might be wise to check your records to determine how old the system is. If your records do not contain this information, you can use this coded chart to attempt to determine the approximate age of most major brands; although, the actual installation date could vary.

Since air conditioner components that are older than 10-15 years are thought to be nearing the end of their expected lifespan, homeowners who have units in this age range are often concerned about potential failures. If replacing the system is not possible, homeowners should consider reducing the stress on their aging air conditioning systems and increasing their efficiency by taking advantage of the following suggestions.  

Keep it Clean, Inside and Out

While most homeowners remember to change their HVAC filters frequently, they may not remember to clean the actual components as often as they should.

  • Inside components should be thoroughly cleaned each spring and fall. Remove the access door and carefully vacuum away all loose dust and dirt that may have settled inside. Continue by carefully removing any remaining dust and dirt from electrical components, the metal housing, blower assembly and the vents. In addition, the tube that moves condensation from the unit to a nearby drain should be checked to make sure it is not clogged.
  • Outside components also need to be cleaned, much more often than twice per year. Depending upon where your unit is located, acorns, fallen leaves, grass clippings, bird droppings and many other types of debris may find their way into the vents and openings of the compressor unit. Because this component is responsible for removing heat from your home, keeping it clean will boost its efficiency and help keep it performing well, even if it is an older unit.

Keep the Compressor Unit as Cool As Possible

If your compressor unit is located in direct sunshine or situated where it receives reflected heat from glass, concrete, masonry or metal walls or structures, it could be aging even faster than it normally would and operating at less than peak performance.

Cool it down quickly by installing some type of protective shade or awning where it will shelter the compressor unit from the strongest sunshine from mid-morning until late afternoon. To provide ongoing shade, consider planting some fast growing bushes or landscaping plants where they will provide shade. However, always remember to leave several inches of clearance around the entire compressor unit to allow air to flow freely.

Keep the Entire System Properly Maintained

In addition to keeping it clean and protected from heat, air conditioning systems will last longer and operate most efficiently when they are serviced regularly by a reputable air conditioning service. Performed annually, this type of maintenance call will check for failing parts, damaged wires, refrigerant levels and overall functionality so that repairs can be made before the stress of heavy usages causes the system to fail.

For more information, contact a business such as Certified Appliance.

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