It seems that your air conditioner can just run forever without any attention from you. Some people try that and end up with an expensive air conditioner repair bill. It only takes a little time to make sure that your air conditioner is working properly and not straining to keep your house cool. Here are a few things you can do to help it do its job efficiently.
Change the Filter Regularly
Your AC draws in air from the house through an air filter before the air passes over the cooling coils. The filter picks up contaminants in the air, such as dirt, pollen and pet hair that can coat the coils, making the AC less effective. A dirty filter is hazardous to your cooling system.
As the filter clogs up, your air conditioner must work harder to pull enough air through the filter. This makes the motor strain and generate more heat. If this continues, the motor will begin to fail and will eventually stop. Replacing the motor is an expensive AC repair that can be avoided by regularly changing the filter, which costs just a few dollars. Depending on the season and the type of filter, change it every one to three months.
Cleaning the Condenser Fins
The condenser is the part of the air conditioner that sits outside next to your house. The condenser compresses the coolant which draws the heat out of the air in your house. The condenser generates a lot of heat and metal fins, and a fan keep this part of your AC cool. Yard debris and pollen can be drawn in and accumulate on the fins and condenser, making it harder to cool.
Shut the power off to the air conditioner. Remove the screws on the top of the condenser that hold on the cover over the fan. With a vacuum cleaner, a long wand and soft brush at the end, clean any dirt that you can reach from the fan and metal fins. If any of the fins are bent slightly, gently pull them back out straight. If large areas of fins have been pushed in, call a company that does AC repair in your area to repair those fins. Replace the cover and turn the power back on when done.
Don't Make Your AC Work Harder Than For What It's Rated
Every air conditioner manufacturer rates their units as to how many square feet they can cool. Pushing your AC to work beyond that makes it work harder, causing wear on the components. This will also happen if you're trying to cool a very hot house down too much.
On a very hot day, if your AC stops working and your house still isn't cooled down, check the condenser outside. If frost has developed on the coils, the system has overheated and the motor has shut off. When the ice melts and the motor cools, the AC will start up again. This is a sign that you're working the unit too hard.
Turn the thermostat up to a warmer temperature and close off a few rooms. This will reduce the load on the air conditioner so it will continue working. If it cycles through too many of the freeze-stop-melt-restart cycles, the motor will be damaged.