Beat the heat

The best thing you can do to keep your air-conditioning system running properly is to perform preventative maintenance on the system at the outset of the summer.

Good news. It’s not too late to service your air conditioner and doing so may pave the way to a comfortable rest of the summer.

After you have had a technician service your air-conditioner system, you can take over with routine maintenance tasks.

The single most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace its filter.

A clogged, dirty filter significantly obstructs airflow and your equipment will work harder to meet demand. When the filter is sufficiently clogged, the furnace blower may not be able to send conditioned air to where it’s needed.

My friends in the air-conditioning service business tell me that the No. 1 solution to their most popular call, “my air conditioner isn’t working,” is to replace the dirty filter.

For central air conditioners, air filters are generally located where the air-return duct meets the furnace. Sometimes the filter is located in the furnace blower cavity.

Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Some types of cartridge filters are disposable, others are reusable after washing. From what I see in the field, the washable filters are not very popular.

With good intentions, homeowners buy the washable filters only to find that cleaning the debris that is sucked into them is unpleasant and not worth the work to clean them.

The plastic mesh filters, are usually ineffective. The mesh is not good at filtering out dust. Left unchanged, the power of the furnace blower usually sucks the dust out of mesh filters and blows it back into your home.

In my book, mesh filters are best used to catch rocks.

It’s the paper-pleated furnace filters that I like. The pleated pattern makes for a larger surface area. The range is from good to best.

A good, paper-pleated filter catches most debris and is suitable for most families and equipment needs. The best ones are more expensive and filter out allergens.

Once you reach the level of the highest-priced filters, it’s time to think about an air-purification system to meet your health needs.

Summer is the peak months for problems with air-conditioning equipment. Although there are several contributing factors to these problems, starting the cooling season with a service, and plenty of clean filters will give the best chance to beat the heat.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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