Common AC Maintenance Misconceptions

From reading our past blog posts, you probably are well aware of how strong of advocates we are for scheduling regular air conditioning maintenance in Houston, TX and beyond. But some homeowners have an idea of what maintenance is that could actually harm your cooling system. Keep reading to learn more.

Common AC Maintenance Misconceptions

Your Refrigerant Must Be Refilled

Upon installation, your air conditioner is supplied with enough refrigerant (a term commonly referred to as Freon—which we’ll get to in a minute) to ideally last its entire lifespan. Occasionally, your refrigerant may need to be recharged, or refilled. But only if you have a leak.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that refrigerant/Freon needs to be refilled each maintenance appointment. This shouldn’t be the case. If your HVAC professional is only recharging the system without finding and repairing the source of the leak, then they are doing you a disservice.

Now, about that Freon. Freon is actually a specific brand of refrigerant. So while you will always have refrigerant in your air conditioner, you may not necessarily have Freon. Also, older air conditioners often have R-22, a type of refrigerant that is being phased out due to the harmful effects it has on the environment. It’s important to know what type of refrigerant is in your system to understand what your next steps should be, which we’ll get to in a later blog post.

Air Filters Only Need to Be Changed During Professional Tune-Ups

Waiting 6 months to a year to have your air filter changed causes damage to your cooling unit. The air filter, while it does help your indoor air quality a bit, is there to protect the inside components of your air conditioner from dirt, dust, and other debris.

Allowing your air filter to get too clogged up will allow this debris to build up on system components, rendering the unit inefficient. Over time, this will cause increased wear and tear on your AC system, and decrease its lifespan. You could very well find yourself replacing your system far sooner than you would have had to otherwise.

Air filters should be changed every 3 months during heavy periods of use, and this is a task you should be able to handle on your own. If you have significant contaminants in your home—pet dander, cigarette smoke—then you should probably up this to once a month. It also depends on the quality of air filter that you have in your system.

Maintenance Will Help Increase Cooling Power

This is true to some extent. When your air conditioner has parts that need adjusting or repair, doing so can improve the system’s efficiency, and you may find that it’s able to more effectively cool your living space.

However, it’s a mistake to believe that a maintenance appointment is all you need to increase airflow and cooling power in certain rooms of your home. A common complaint we get from clients is that there’s “not enough air flow” upstairs. What’s usually happening is that you’re getting the same amount of airflow, but because heat rises, it feels hotter upstairs than it does downstairs.

The solution to this is zone control cooling. This allows you to control which parts of the building receive cooling and which don’t—and allow you to decrease the temperature in one zone without impacting other zones. This helps your system work more efficiently and improves your comfort, since you can enjoy a nice, cool upstairs without turning your downstairs living area into a meat freezer.

What Does Professional Maintenance Do for My System?

So you might be asking yourself now, “should I still have professional maintenance done?” Yes, absolutely! During your professional tune-up, our professionals will thoroughly inspect your system, ensuring that you don’t have any of the above problems.

We’ll clean the system and ensure there are no obstructions preventing the unit from performing at its best. We’ll adjust components that may have become loose, and make recommendations for repairs.

Scheduling your professional maintenance appointment once a year (or twice a year, if you have a heat pump) is your guarantee that everything is being done to ensure it functions as it should for as long as it should. And tackling any small repair needs now means you’ll be able to avoid larger emergencies down the line.

To schedule reliable air conditioning services from a team of highly trained professionals, simply contact Fresh Air, LP today!

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