Air conditioners, like any other appliance, require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Neglected AC units often encounter the most difficulties.
If your AC malfunctions, there’s no need to panic. We consulted air conditioner experts and Consumer Reports test engineers to identify the most common issues that arise with window and central air conditioners. They have pinpointed eight common problems to troubleshoot. Additionally, we have compiled a list of the best window air conditioners for small, medium, and large rooms.
To assist you in diagnosing the problem with your AC, here are eight questions to consider. Interestingly, the number one issue affects both window units and central AC systems, but fortunately, it’s also the easiest to resolve.
Does the filter appear dirty? Irrespective of the type of air conditioner you own, a dirty air filter can obstruct airflow, leading to reduced efficiency and compromised cooling performance. It is essential to regularly clean the filter in your window or portable air conditioner and periodically inspect its cleanliness. For central AC systems, refer to the filter manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the appropriate time to replace it. In Consumer Reports’ tests, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) filters typically last between three to 12 months.
Keep in mind that if your central air system runs constantly or if you have pets, you may need to change the filters more frequently. “When we receive complaints about central air units performing poorly, it’s often due to a dirty filter,” says Stewart Unsdorfer, the owner of Central Heating & Air Conditioning in Cleveland.
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Window AC Checklist:
- Is there excessive sunlight inside? If your window AC unit is placed in a window that receives direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, it will need to exert more effort to cool your space. If possible, consider relocating it to a shaded area. If relocation is not an option, keep your shades and curtains closed during the day to block the sun’s rays and prevent them from heating up your home.
- Are there any air leaks? Inspect the seals around your window AC unit to ensure that warm air is not infiltrating and cold air is not escaping. If necessary, reseal the area around your unit using weather stripping.
“Most new window units are equipped with insulation panels that can be placed over the adjustable side panels,” explains Chris Regan, the overseer of our air conditioner tests. “However, for maximum efficiency, it is still advisable to utilize weather stripping around the unit’s perimeter. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and utilize the provided safety hardware.”
- Is your window AC unit vibrating? Air conditioners generate various sounds, including the fan’s whirring and the cycling of the compressor. However, if you notice excessive vibration, it could indicate incorrect installation of your unit. Ensure that it is securely positioned in the window and refer to the installation instructions provided in your owner’s manual to verify that all steps were followed correctly.
Central AC Checklist:
- Is the thermostat set correctly? If you have a smart or programmable thermostat, it offers convenient control over your home’s temperature, allowing you to ensure comfort when you’re present and slightly higher temperatures when you’re away. If you feel that the temperature is inaccurate, check if the thermostat is exposed to direct sunlight, as this can cause incorrect temperature readings.
6.Are the registers dirty or obstructed? For homes equipped with a forced-air heating and cooling system, regularly vacuum the registers to eliminate any accumulated dust. Additionally, ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through the registers.
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7.Are plants encroaching on the compressor? The outdoor compressor unit of a central air system requires proper airflow to function effectively. Ensure that there is a sufficient gap of 2 to 3 feet between the compressor and any plants or structures nearby. Additionally, there should be a clearance of 5 feet between the top of the unit and any overhanging trees.
8.Have you scheduled the annual checkup? It is advisable to have an HVAC technician conduct an annual inspection to detect any potential issues before they escalate and leave you uncomfortable. During the checkup, the technician will examine all the moving components, assess the refrigerant levels, and perform a recharge if necessary. This preventive maintenance can help avoid future problems and ensure optimal performance.
Sursa : Consumer Reports