How To Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Longer

Air conditioners have come a long way over the years, and, at a certain point, it is better to replace them than to try and keep them functioning for a few more years. However, sometimes you just don't have money in the budget for the model you want, and that extra time to save up will be worth it. Have your HVAC technician check these possibilities to see if you can stick with your old, faithful unit for a few more years.

Check and Replace Capacitors

Motors need extra power to overcome inertia when they first get started. Because the power they get from the electrical system is constant, they need another way to get that boost. This is where capacitors come in. In many ways a capacitor is like a battery-- it stores electricity for later use. Unlike a battery, it discharges all that power very quickly, which is perfect for giving a motor the extra juice to get going.

While capacitors are insanely useful things, they are also relatively fragile. Over time, the chemicals inside break down, and this process is only accelerated by the temperature and humidity changes that come from being outside all the time. In fact, bad capacitors are one of the most common reasons for an air conditioner to break don, and they are one of the easiest things to fix. Even if your air conditioner is still working, a bad capacitor can make it work harder to get started. Checking and replacing failing capacitors is a good way to ensure your system lasts longer.

Consider Adding a Hard Start

Sometimes even good capacitors aren't enough to get your system up and going quickly and efficiently. In particular, the compressor can struggle as it starts to compress the coolant that is a key component in making cold air. This can make your system run longer, and artificially increase the wear on your unit. The best way to address this issue is to add a hard start to your unit.

These devices are available for basically any make and model of air conditioner, and your HVAC tech should be proficient in installing them. These devices work at the beginning of the conditioning cycle to assist your compressor in getting the system up and running. This minimal investment can make a big difference in your energy bill, and allow your compressor to hold up for a few more years.

Replace Your Furnace Filter on Time

While replacing the filter seems obvious, few people actually make the effort to replace their furnace filter on a regular basis. You should replace your filter at least once every three months, but if you live in a home with a lot of indoor pollution (this can come from pets, smokers, or a newer home that is well sealed) you may need to change it more often. Until you get a feel for how often you need to change your filter, you should check it monthly. Once you understand how long it takes for the filter to fill up, you can simply add the replacement schedule to your calender.

As the filter fills, it reduces the air flow. This forces the fans to work harder to pull the same amount of air, and the air conditioner will likely need to run longer in order to generate sufficient cooling in your home. Just like any other device, the harder and longer you use your system, the sooner it will break down. This is such a simple step that can make such a big impact, it is hard to justify ignoring it.

Air conditioners are expensive, but they are a luxury that most people have come to expect in their homes. Taking care of your aging unit will allow you to spend a few more summers in air conditioned bliss before you have to make the investment in a new unit. You can look at more info here on air conditioner repairs that will help you to extend the life span of you AC unit.