Your air conditioner is your saving grace during the summer when the temperatures run high. Knowing how to maintain your air conditioner is an important part of keeping the system running and avoiding expensive air conditioning repair. You may already know some of the common ways to maintain your HVAC system--changing the air filter, getting yearly tuneups (from professionals such as those from American Heating & Air), and so on. However, air conditioners can breakdown for a variety of reasons, and some of them may surprise you.
Poor Landscaping Choices
Your air conditioner condenser works outside in the hot sun on the warmest days of the year. To stay cool, the condenser relies on proper air flow inside and outside the unit. Poor landscaping choices can impact this air flow in negative ways. Plants that crowd the space around the condenser can restrict the air flow and cause the air conditioner to work harder than necessary to cool your home. These tips will prevent this from happening:
- Keep all shrubs, flowers and trees at least 2 feet away from the air conditioner. Your condenser needs at least two feet of open space on all sides to get the air flow it needs to function properly.
- Prune back any plants that begin to grow too close to the air conditioner. You may have planted your landscaping elements far enough from the air conditioner condenser, but some plants have a way of growing where they're not wanted. Pay close attention to the plants in the vicinity of your condenser and prune them back as needed.
- Avoid placing wooden mulch around the unit. Wooden mulch can prevent plants from growing in the area around the condenser, but unfortunately, little bits of wood and bark can also become caught in the fins of the unit, restricting air flow and creating maintenance problems.
- Clean up any organic debris around the unit on a regular basis. Leaves and cut branches that become caught in the space around the condenser may end up inside the condenser, clinging to the parts.
A Badly Placed Fence or Wall
Many homeowners dislike the look of their air conditioner condenser, and some try to deal with this problem by covering it with a fence or wall. This is bad for your condenser in the same way that nearby organic matter is bad for your condenser. Keep all fences and walls at least two feet away from the unit, and avoid placing any walls over the top of the unit.
Some dogs like to pick a regular spot in the yard for doing business. Unfortunately, some dogs like to pee on the condenser. Over time, dog pee can cause corrosion of the parts and may form a sticky build up inside the unit. If you've noticed that your dog is hanging around the air conditioner condenser with unnatural interest, it may be time to train your dog to pee elsewhere.
Following these tips will help you maintain your air conditioner throughout the summer season, and may prevent you from needing air conditioner repair this summer.