With Spring already here, you’re probably preparing to schedule your next AC tune-up. When the technician comes over to perform preventative maintenance, you should take this time to get answers to your most pressing questions. Here are a few concerns you might have.
How frequently should I change the AC filter?
The basic rule of thumb is to check the filter once a month and replace it after no longer than three months. If you have allergies, you may want to change the filter more frequently than this, especially if pets or smokers live in your home.
Which MERV rating is right for my AC unit?
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, indicates how well the filter does its job. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller particles the filter can remove from the air. Follow these guidelines:
- MERV 6 filters are sufficient if you have no pets and no allergy problems. The capture large debris and particles.
- MERV 8 filters provide better air-filtering power, making them the best option for the average home. These filters capture dust mites’ debris and mold spores.
- MERV 11 filters offer superior air filtration for exceptionally clean indoor air. Best option for pet owners or smokers.
- MERV 13 filters are some of the highest efficiency versions you can install in a residential HVAC system. More efficient filters that can capture even the bacteria and virus carriers in the air.
How often should I service my air conditioner?
Most technicians recommend scheduling preventative maintenance once a year. Spring is the best time for a service call because it gets your cooling equipment tuned-up and ready for summer.
How do I troubleshoot problems with my AC unit?
Air conditioners are robust and designed to work even in less-than-ideal circumstances. However, if yours starts acting up, follow these troubleshooting tips before calling a cooling technician for help.
- If the air conditioner won’t turn on, check the thermostat setting. Then, make sure the unit has power by checking that it’s plugged in and no circuit breakers have tripped. Replace the filter in case bad airflow is causing overheating and look for problems with the condensate drain line. If you can’t solve the problem, you may need to call a professional.
- If the AC starts blowing hot air, this means the air handler is running, but the condenser isn’t. Make sure the outdoor unit has power and clear away any debris that could be blocking airflow to the condenser.
- If strange noises or smells are coming from the AC, don’t ignore them. Shut off the unit immediately and call a professional for help diagnosing and repairing the problem.
Stock Up on Replacement Air Filters
If you go to change the AC filter at the recommended interval only to discover that you’re all out of replacement filters, take this time to restock your supply. Spring is a good time for that, so you have the replacement air filters you need for the next few months.