6 Ways to Extend the Average Life of an AC – How to Make Your HVAC System Last Longer?
If you’re good with your HVAC system, it will be great for you. It’s a familiar concept related to the average life of an AC to last for many years beyond their average lifespans. But even a long system life can come with its costs.
As your equipment ages, it will suffer reduced energy efficiency. This will cause your utility bills to gradually upsurge. Individual parts will all meet their makers at some point. You are likely to spend more on emergency repairs once your system reaches its golden years.
What’s more, while your system is giving you all those years of great service, HVAC technology is always on the march. By the time you’re ready for replacement, the latest HVAC systems will inevitably be more efficient than your old system when it was brand new — and the difference could be significant.
It is very easy to overstress air conditioners during long hot summers. The average life of an AC is very long, and replacing them is always a costly affair. As an HVAC system ages, energy efficiency reduces, and resultantly the utility bills go up with every passing month. Using air conditioners at full capacity without proper maintenance would affect the average life of an AC in the long run.
But most, if not all of us, do not usually have the longevity of our air conditioners in mind during usage. Once the system has been bought and installed, longevity becomes an afterthought and we only want to achieve our desired temperature in the quickest possible time.
The ductless ACs have very good efficiency and you can always increase their productive lifespan by following simple and easy to follow maintenance regime. Read more below to find out some of the ways through which you can keep the average life of an AC on the higher side!
1. Regular Tune-ups
As with all things mechanical, regularly scheduled maintenance is the best way to prevent catastrophic and costly failure. HVAC systems do not demand particularly high maintenance, but that doesn’t mean routine maintenance isn’t important. Your air conditioner and furnace should both be inspected, cleaned, and tuned up every year. It’s best to schedule your air conditioner service in spring and your furnace service in late summer or early fall — that way, your system will be optimized for efficiency the first day you need it, and if a serious problem is discovered, you can deal with it before it comes time to switch systems.
If you haven’t already done so, contact your HVAC technician and have a maintenance routine put in place, preferably right before the start of the summer season, so that any faults and kinks can be timely identified. A tune-up would include close inspection of all parts, cleaning up of the interior mechanisms, clean-up of the condensate pan, refrigerant top up, and a thorough overview of the outdoor unit for debris and damage.
All these steps ensure that once operating at the full hilt, the air conditioner does not develop a fault.
2. Outdoor Unit Inspection
The outdoor unit, or a condenser in technical terms, is the real workhorse of your air conditioning system. This unit is usually placed on the other side of the wall from your indoor unit and is often exposed to the elements. During periods of rough weather, debris and stones can become lodged inside the unit. When operating, this debris can then interfere with the fan and lead to possible damage or leakage in the pipes. It is thus good practice to visually inspect the unit for any visible damage after a storm, and even before a summer season.
Moreover, keep an eye out for shrubs or weeds growing on the condenser unit. The unit needs to blow out the heated air, and if the outlet vents are blocked, this would lead to decreased efficiency of the system.
It is also a good idea to observe for any refrigerant or water leaks from the outdoor unit. The presence of such fluids can mean that there is something much more serious inside the unit itself.
3. Air Filters Replacement
This is included in the tune-ups that your HVAC technician might do, but it is always a good idea to make yourself familiar with this easy procedure and do it yourself. Filters usually run somewhere from a month to three months, but it can vary according to the type of filter and also operating conditions. It is generally a good practice to take out the filters after a month or so of regular usage and clean them up.
A dirty filter results in less air going into your air conditioner, in turn, leading to less cold air coming out. You are in practice of “suffocating” your air conditioner.
Cleaning can be done in one of several ways. The most common is to simply blow them with air or use a vacuum cleaner. Most filters can also be washed with a soapy water solution. Rinse it off thoroughly and leave it to dry and the filter is good to go.
4. Decrease Your AC’s Load by Using Other Appliances
An air conditioner is the primary method of keeping your home cool, but not the only one. Air conditioner usage can be optimized by using your AC along with other home appliances, such as ceiling fans. Using both the ceiling fan and AC together helps to circulate air better and your AC can be set at a lower power setting. This reduces the load on your AC and thus increasing the average life of your air conditioner and moreover also helps reduce your energy bills.
Using reflective window films, thick curtains to block out heat and other appliances such as smart blinds can also greatly help reduce the load on your AC. These energy-saving measures make your cooling efficiency high and keep your AC performing in top condition for a longer time!
5. Use Your AC’s Auto Mode
Almost all air conditioners these days have an “auto” fan setting. Within this setting, the air conditioner fan only operates according to the requirements, rather than running at a constant speed regardless of the current temperature. A fan that is on a “high” fan setting will be running at maximum even if the desired temperature has been reached. This can lead to wasteful usage of the fan and air conditioner, not only leading to unnecessary strain on the system but also higher energy bills.
A fan running on high speed will also accumulate dust and dirt more quickly than a fan that runs on auto. In the absence of regular maintenance and filter cleanups, this can lead to lower efficiencies. With smart controllers available these days, the fan usage can be easily moderated according to the requirements. More on this discussed below.
6. Make Your Cooling Smart
This era is about smart technologies and there are multiple options on the market to make your AC smart.
Smart AC controllers can equip your air conditioner with additional features. Using a smart controller for your air conditioner, you can monitor, manage, and control your AC using your smartphone, no matter where you are, as long as you have Wi-Fi. Moreover, depending upon the manufacturer and model, smart AC controls can come with additional features such as weekly scheduling or location-based controls among many others.
But the main features that will help you with keeping your AC usage optimal are temperature and humidity-based controls. You can set your smart controller to maintain a specific temperature or humidity range, and once it is achieved, the air conditioner usage is gradually eased. Fan settings are turned to a low mode, and compressor usage is regulated. This ensures that the air conditioner is not working at maximum all the time.
You can also keep a check on your AC’s maintenance by monitoring its filter status and being notified whenever a change is required!
All the discussed practices do not require you to spend a lot of money, and almost all can be done by yourself at home. Air conditioning systems are advertised as having a lifespan of around 10-15 years. But without proper care, this can come down drastically, necessitating the need to splash the cash on a new system.
By following the above-mentioned practices, it can be ensured that the average life of an AC runs the whole 10-15 years, and in some cases, even more, while not compromising on performance.