There are still a few months of warm weather this year and that means there are still a few months of air conditioning to go. If your air conditioner has seemed a bit spotty, don't sit back in hopes that it will make it through the summer before dying. If you think you can wait a year to repair or replace it without problems, think again. When your AC has problems in the summer, it's likely that your heater will have similar problems when you boost it up in the fall or winter. You should always have your air conditioner serviced near the end of the season to prevent long-term damage to your heating and cooling systems.
Your Heating and Cooling Systems Use the Same Air Filter
First off, many heating and cooling systems use the same air filter. If your home uses a forced air system, the air filter is shared. Regularly clean and replace the air filter to avoid clogging. Clogs lead to poor function, increased utility bills, and could even result in another part of your system breaking (such as cracking the heat exchanger). A forced air system is a fine way to heat and cool your home, but keep in mind a few potential problems about the shared filter:
- Running Year-Round: The filter is being used year-round. That means it needs to be inspected and cleaned every few months (at least with the change of seasons). It should also be replaced once a year. The best time to do this is in the warmer months when access to the filter is fairly easy and dry.
- Two-Way Filtration: Forced air systems use their filter as they suck in and blow out air. In the summer, warm air is pulled into the system and cool air pushed out. Debris is collected in the warm air duct. In the winter, the air is flowing in the opposite direction and could result in debris being forced into your home. Service the filters with each change of season to prevent poor circulation and polluted air.
Problems with the Ductwork Don't Change with the Weather
You might think that shutting off your AC and turning on your heater will shut off some of the problems you had with your AC, too. Unfortunately, that's not the case. If you have problems within your ductwork in the summer months, they won't shut off or remedy themselves for the winter. Instead of putting off a repair until both systems are damaged, get professional help. The biggest problem with ductwork is leaking air. Damages from leaks include:
- Uneven Temperature Control: When air leaks out of the ducts, certain parts of the home are not heated/cooled as desired. If you notice that one bedroom is always cooler (or warmer) than the rest of your home, check that the vents are opened. If adjusting the vents doesn't fix the problem, inspect your ducts for cracks and breaks.
- Dirty Ducts: Whether your ducts are cracked or improperly sealed, air leaks out while other things leak in. Dirt can get into your air ducts and do one of two things: it can either be released into your home or build up and cause a duct block. Blocked ducts can lead to overheated system parts because they are running longer and air is forced back towards the furnace. If you put off duct repairs for another season, you'll probably have the expense of replacing large parts on top of re-sealing the ducts.
While you might be tempted to put off system repairs near the end of the warm season, you should reconsider. Problems with the AC don't go away when you stop running it each day. In fact, similar problems will be manifest in your heater because your heating and cooling systems share many of the same parts. To avoid more damage, always get your system serviced with the changing of seasons. You can find a heating repair company if you go to sites like the one linked to here.