Once autumn rolls in the time for relying on your air conditioner will have abated, which is good news for an appliance in need of a respite. With milder temperatures also comes the opportunity to address or prevent issues that may prevent you from using your AC next summer. While there are some minor fixes you can apply yourself, don't hesitate to call for help if you find yourself out of your depth.
DIY AC Maintenance
Once you've been able to switch over to heat instead of air conditioning, take a moment and examine your home's compressor, often referred to as a heat pump. This is the exterior unit for your HVAC system, and relies on insulated plumbing to exchange heat between your home and the outdoors. If this insulation becomes damaged due to moisture, scrape away the old insulation and rewrap the pipe to help improve the performance of your AC.
Pre-cut foam tubes are available for exterior pipe-wrap, but make sure the product you buy is rated for use in your region. Coverage should be as complete as possible, and may require several joints or elbows. Avoid using duct tape for these applications though, as normal condensation will degrade its effectiveness. Instead, use snug fitting foam which will prevent it from slipping or falling away from the pipe you're protecting.
Certain parts of your AC unit will require a contractor's touch to repair or perform upkeep on. A good example is refilling your AC unit's Freon tank, which is used for both operating the air conditioning and the heating function of the system. Any time you have maintenance done on your HVAC system, the Freon levels should be checked out and topped up as needed.
Depending on the location of your other HVAC components, it's simply more convenient to let a professional handle some tasks, such as cleaning or draining the condensation tray. This is normally found near your forced air system, and collects dripping condensation that results when hot and cold air meet. It is normally meant to drain to the outside, but clogs or overfilling can result in water damage on the inside of your home. As with your Freon levels, make sure your condensation tray is checked out during any maintenance visit.
While no two HVAC systems are exactly the same, there are a few standard maintenance tasks that should always be performed. With that in mind, if you call an HVAC contractor (such as one from Omega Air Conditioning) for a service visit it's often more cost-effective to upgrade to full system maintenance rather than focusing only on your air conditioning.