With temperatures in the high 30s, and humidity pushing them to the mid 40s, diamonds and dogs have some stiff competition when it comes to humankind's affections. In the summer, homeowners have a new best friend: the air conditioner. This technology takes sweltering days and makes them comfortable. These units can be the difference between endless tossing and turning and a good night's sleep; making them a very valuable asset. But, where diamonds have jewellers and dogs have veterinarians, ensuring your air conditioner is, and stays, in good condition can be less straightforward.
Last month we asked what measures homeowners implemented to maintain their air conditioners. Of the 27 responses we received from our clients and real estate partners, it has become evident that while many recognize the importance of air conditioner maintenance, they aren't sure where to start or what to do. Working with our Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association partner, AtlasCare, we have developed a short list of easy-to-complete items to make sure you stay cool and comfortable until it's time for ghosts and pumpkins.
Inspect your air conditioner's filter on a monthly basis to see if it needs changing or cleaning. Dust and dirt can build up on the filter, affecting the efficiency and performance of the unit. The cost of filters can range from $5 to $30, depending on the type you select. In most cases, the filter can be found in the ductwork near your furnace.
Helpful Tip: Write down the size of your filter before going to purchase a new one.
The cleanliness of the exterior of your unit is also important. Dirt outside quickly becomes dirt inside the unit as the fan draws air through the coils. A build-up of dirt, dust, leaves, and grass around the outside of the air conditioner will reduce airflow through the coils, compromising the efficiency and longevity or the system.
Helpful Tip: Don't scrub the coils, as the metal fins are easily damaged. Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft bristle attachment to remove dirt from the outside, then use a hose to spray the coils from the inside out.
Having a professional come and inspect the unit regularly will help ensure the performance of its more complex components. While we do encourage the maintenance items discussed above, for safety reasons it is best to reach out to a specialist with respect to the more comprehensive mechanics. This should be done on a yearly basis.
Helpful Tip: Consider the following when selecting your contractor:
- Look on their website for any special certifications. Are they a member of any organization that holds them accountable for the quality of service they provide?
- Look into their quality and service guarantees. Make sure they have protection in place in case they damage your home, or if your unit doesn't work.
- Make sure they can actually serve you. Do they have enough trucks to be there when you need them?
- Ensure they provide emergency service for those moments when your unit breaks down. (However, an annual maintenance plan should help reduce the risk of having to deal with emergency repairs).
We believe that a little prevention can go a long way towards providing security and savings. It's one of the fundamental values behind our Home Inspections and the reason we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association.
This not-for-profit program provides our clients and real estate agents with fast, easy, and cost-effective access to group discounts, benefits, and warranties to help protect their home and their investment. From now until September 15, 2013, AtlasCare is currently offering Homeowners Association members $30 off an Annual Tune-Up of their heating and cooling equipment. Call 905-829-1296 for details. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association please click here or call 800-268-7070.