While not every AC breakdown can be prevented, you can take certain steps to be sure you’re not making a breakdown more likely. Today’s air conditioners are designed and engineered to handle the rigors of heavy usage during the long hot summer. As a homeowner with a considerable investment in your HVAC system, you naturally want to experience the fewest necessary repairs and longest service life from your air conditioner. Though you can’t totally eliminate normal wear and tear, here are a few things that reduce costly AC breakdowns.

Change the air filter.

During cooling season, an AC typically runs more hours per day than a furnace does during heating season. Therefore, replace the system air filter every month. This prevents excess wear and tear on critical parts, including the compressor. Buy quality pleated-cotton or polyester filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of at least 8 but not more than 12.

Maintain consistent temperatures.

Turning an air conditioner on and off frequently incurs more wear and tear than simply allowing the system to cycle normally and maintain a continuous, consistent thermostat setting throughout the day.

Don’t overwork it.

Residential air conditioners are engineered to extract only a finite amount of heat from indoor air. In most cases, the thermostat setting should never be more than 20 degrees colder than the outdoor temperature. Actually, a 15-degree setting is more realistic and also generates less wear and tear that may trigger an AC breakdown.

Get a ductwork inspection.

HVAC ducts in homes frequently develop leaks over time. This can cause an AC to run excessively long cycles to make up for cooling that’s lost due to leakage into the attic, crawl space or other unconditioned zone.

Schedule annual professional preventative maintenance.

This provides a manufacturer-recommended list of tuneup procedures to mitigate wear and tear and enhance reliability. The inspection also allows a technician to pinpoint any incipient issues before they turn into a major malfunction.

For advice and professional service to avoid an AC breakdown this summer, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.