What To Do When Your A/C Won't Blow Hard Enough
It seems like summers are getting hotter and hotter. Even if the temperatures stay the same, your air conditioner will slowly become less efficient as it gets older. If yours is showing its age, it might be getting to a point where it no longer pushes enough cold air to keep you comfortable. Even if this isn't the cause, you don't have to suffer. Here are some things you can do to get your home back to the right temperature.
Check Your Filter
Your air filter should be changed at least twice a year. Many people forget this, and let dust build up in their system for years before they consider replacing it. If your home is extra grimy (because you have children or pets) then the filter should actually be changed even more often-- as often as once a month. As the dust begins to build up in the filter, the fan in your air conditioner will have to work harder and harder to pull air through it. At first it will be able to keep up, but as the years go by, it may simply stop being able to pull sufficient air through the system.
If you only forgot one or two filter changes, you can probably just replace the filter and things will be back to normal. However, if your system has been neglected for years, you may need to call in a tech to repair the fan before you get the system back online. Not only does this cause extra wear and tear on the fan itself, but dirt can start working its way through the filter and get into parts of the system that aren't designed to handle all that gunk. The tech will need to clean out the accumulated grime and replace the fan before your air conditioner will start running at full strength again.
Clean Out The Condenser
Another area that needs regular cleaning is the outdoor condenser. These are to be cleaned once a year. While the condenser is designed to handle the dirt and debris that comes from sitting outside year after year, it too has a fan that needs to stay relatively clear in order to work. This outdoor fan pushes the condensed heat away from the unit so that it can bring in fresher, cooler air to continue the process. Cleaning your condenser is a more involved process than the filter, but most people can handle it. If you aren't up for the challenge, most HVAC companies offer yearly maintenance contracts. This includes not only cleaning the unit, but checking for additional problems that you wouldn't be able to spot on your own, so you will get additional peace of mind for your money.
Have a Technician Install a Hard Start
Sometimes the problem really is just that your unit is too old to function properly any more. Even then, replacement isn't your only option (although you should consider it). You can have a technician install something called a hard start into your unit to help it get going, which should give you immediate relief from the heat while allowing you another year or two to save up for a new unit. These work by giving the condenser motor some extra power at the very beginning of the air conditioning cycle. Once the coils inside the condenser get moving, the unit should be able to continue on regular power.
Getting your air conditioner back on track is very important if you have kids or elderly relatives staying with you. Even if you don't, it may be worth it to you to spend the money on emergency 24 hour air conditioning repairs. Regardless of your reasons, getting your A/C back up and running doesn't have to be a nightmare.