3 Reasons Your AC Could Break Down This Spring

Remember the heatwave of 1995?

It was the most intense combination of heat and humidity to ever grip Northeast, Ill. That July, temperatures soared well over 100 degrees, and the humidity was stiflingly high.

There were more than 580 heat-related deaths recorded that summer.

It’s not an exaggeration to say air conditioning saves lives. Is your central air system prepared to keep you cool during another oppressive weather event? Now is the time to give it a thorough assessment.

Here are three reasons why your cooling system could fail you this summer.

Lack of Maintenance

Like all things mechanical, your HVAC unit requires routine maintenance to function correctly. If you’ve neglected to have your system tuned-up in recent years, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you need it most. Without care, critical pieces of equipment will fail.

Even if your AC manages to limp through the summer, your energy bills will be sky-high, and your home won’t be as comfortable.

That’s why you should schedule a preseason tune-up. An experienced technician will conduct a number of tasks to ensure your central air system will perform at peak efficiency, including…

  • tightening electrical connections

  • lubricating moving parts

  • inspecting the condensate drain

  • checking the starting cycle

The technician will also test your system’s cooling function, adjust blower components, check the refrigerant level, and clean the evaporator and condenser coils.

Dirty Filter

The filter’s primary function is to prevent dust and debris from jamming up the works in your central air unit. Neglecting to replace it can spell trouble down the line.

A clogged air filter strains your HVAC unit and drives up your energy bill; even worse, it can lead to a breakdown. Because the blower will struggle to push air through a clogged filter, diminished airflow will cause the evaporator coils to freeze up. Frozen coils won’t absorb heat, which is a critical part of the cooling process.

Even if your cooling system manages to muscle through a filthy filter, you can expect uneven temperatures throughout your home.

Set a reminder on your phone to replace your filter every 30 days.

Old System

You can’t expect to get much more than 15 years out of your HVAC unit. If your central air system is getting on in years, consider replacing it before summer. Here’s how to tell it’s time to upgrade:

Your system breaks down frequently: If your central air system can’t go a season -- either heating or cooling -- without malfunctioning, you’re probably due for a new unit. Repairs can be expensive, so it might be more cost-effective to upgrade.

It’s inefficient: Have you noticed a steady increase in your heating and cooling costs month after month? Blame your aging HVAC. Today’s air conditioners must meet a minimum energy-efficiency standard. This is reflected in the unit’s SEER rating -- that’s the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The higher the SEER, the more energy it saves. Newly manufactured systems must have a SEER rating of at least 13, but some models boast a SEER of 20 or higher. Your decade-old system probably has a SEER of 8 or less.

It’s not cooling like it used to: If your air conditioner isn’t doing its job, it’s time to retire it. You can continue to pay out of your nose for repairs, or you can upgrade to a reliable unit that will provide lasting comfort.

Bottom line: Whether your HVAC system needs a tune-up or if it needs to be replaced entirely, give Prestige Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today at (630) 557-1517.