Air conditioning has become one of the most important pieces of technology we use on a daily basis. The ability to control temperature — whether to cool or heat your surroundings — has massive implications on comfort at home, but also productivity at work. 

Modern AC systems are built tough, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of them. On the contrary, your AC requires some TLC if you want it to serve you for a long time. Here’s how you can expand your AC’s service life. 

Clean the AC Periodically 

There are two types of AC maintenance — the one you need to hire a professional to do, and the maintenance you can do yourself. Cleaning the AC, at least the type of cleaning we’re talking about in this instance, falls to the latter category. Every AC is different when it comes to removable filters and access to air ducts. 

Check your AC’s user manual and see what the manufacturer recommends. If you have a wall-mounted interior unit, make sure to clean the mesh filters with soap water once every few months at the very least. These filters serve to catch dust and other particles that tend to build up over time. 

Change the Filter 

Larger AC systems have disposable filters that need to be changed periodically. That being said, your choice of filters also matters. There are standard fiberglass filters, more effective pleated filters, HEPA filters, and more. Additionally, you can choose between disposable filters and those that can be reused with cleaning. 

If you have seasonal allergies, getting a filter with an anti-allergen layer can potentially make your life easier during the critical period. AC technicians from argue that a good filter can keep all kinds of harmful particles from reaching the inside of your home or office. If you go with a HEPA filter, you’ll gain protection against incredibly small pollutants as well. 

Whichever filter you choose, it’s important that it’s clean. Otherwise, your AC will struggle to achieve the desired temperature which could prematurely wear out certain parts of the system. 

Pre-Season Check 

Although basic maintenance will prolong the life of your AC system, it’s the pre-season inspection and tune-up that really makes a difference. It’s best that you outsource this process to a professional. An HVAC tech will be able to fully inspect the AC system, apply any adjustments and get it ready for the season. 

The reason why the pre-season check is important is simple — you’ll be running the AC much harder during the scorching summer days. By making sure that everything is up to spec with your system, you’re reducing the risk of your AC breaking or malfunctioning when you need it the most. 

Additionally, a tech can recognize potential issues long before they become expensive problems. In a way, a pre-season check-up is a good way to potentially save a lot of money on AC repair. 

Make Sure The Air Vents are Clear 

Just like a clogged filter can push an AC to work harder, so can a clogged air vent. Air vents are key for the circulation of cold, or hot air, which in turn allows the AC to work within a certain performance envelope. When an air vent clogs up, you’ll feel the discomfort. The first thing most people do in this instance is to crank the AC even lower. 

There are many situations that can result in a clogged air vent. If you have pets, their hair is often enough to cause mayhem in the AC air duct system. Sometimes clothes will fall in there, or you’ll find that your kids have dropped a toy inside the vent. Whatever the case may be, it’s essential that your air vents are clean and clear before you start the AC during the season. 

Inspect the AC Yourself 

Although a certified HVAC tech is the best person to take a deeper look into your AC, there are signs of trouble and wear indicators that you can spot yourself. All you need to do is inspect the AC system once every month or two months. 

What you’re looking for are leaks, both liquid, and gas. Water dripping from a part of the system where there shouldn’t be any water is a reason to be concerned. The same applies to smelling the AC gas anywhere in the system. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best that you turn off the AC and call a certified HVAC technician. In most cases catching small leaks will allow the tech to make repairs and get the system back online in no time. That being said, ignoring these seemingly benign issues can, and often does lead to much more serious problems the longer you wait. 

Don’t Push Your AC to Its Limits 

Every AC system has its limits. Furthermore, the fact that a system is rated to handle high performance, doesn’t mean you should push it to its limits all the time. The way you use your AC definitely plays a role when it comes to prolonging its service life. 

Turning the AC off when you don’t need it is a good way of letting the system rest. Additionally, some time offline will prevent premature wear on key components within your AC unit. 

Maintain your AC 

At the end of the day, your AC will serve you as well and as long as you maintain it correctly. A system that hasn’t seen a tune-up in years is at risk of working outside the normal parameters. Let that go for long enough, and you’ll have to get a whole new AC as repair costs can easily add up. 

Stay on top of regular maintenance but also make sure to schedule professional check-ups every year. Having a certified technician inspect your AC is the best possible thing you can do to ensure a long service life of critical components. Remember, any maintenance costs are nothing compared to repair or replacement costs.