The average high temperatures in Houston’s summer months are often well above 90° Fahrenheit. During this time of year, it’s critical to stay on top of heating and cooling maintenance.

Regularly maintaining your air conditioning system can help you avoid costly repairs. Without proper maintenance, your system could even break down entirely, leaving you without any AC in the heat of summer.

If you’re wondering how to keep your heating and cooling systems running well this summer, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about HVAC maintenance during a heat wave in Houston, Texas!

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Before you can understand the basic maintenance that will keep your AC running smoothly, you should know the basics of how it works.

The most common type of air conditioning in the United States is the central system. Central systems use a network of ducts and vents to circulate cool air through the home.

This type of system uses an outdoor compressor and an indoor AC unit. The indoor unit removes heat from the air in the home and transfers it to the outdoor compressor.

Most air conditioning systems are controlled with a thermostat, which tells the unit when to cycle on and off.

Other types of air conditioners include standing units, ductless split systems, and window units. All types of air conditioners work by removing heat from inside the home and expelling it outside.

Signs of Issues With Your System

While an HVAC professional can definitively diagnose problems with your AC, there are a few telltale signs you can look out for.

The most obvious problem with an AC system is your home not getting cool enough. This can be caused by mechanical problems or something as simple as a clogged duct.

You might also notice strange sounds or smells coming from your AC unit.

Grinding or banging noises usually indicate a mechanical problem or worn part. Odd smells usually point to dust or mildew, which can have a huge impact on your home’s indoor air quality.

Heating and Cooling Maintenance Tips

Now you know the main components of your air conditioning system and how they work. Let’s take a look at how to keep them running properly.

Keep Your System Clean

Probably the easiest and most effective maintenance you can do yourself is making sure all the parts of your system stay clean. This includes indoor and outdoor components.

While ductwork cleaning should be left to professionals, keep vents free of dust and debris. Clean vents will make it easier for your system to clear out ductwork.

Your AC unit may also accumulate dust, so look it over every once in a while and give it a good dusting. Additionally, be on the lookout for your air conditioner leaking, as this can be a sign of an improper seal or damage.

The outdoor compressor is especially susceptible to debris like dirt and even branches. Keeping the compressor clean will allow your system to more easily transfer heat from your home, which will save energy.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Another easy form of maintenance is changing your air filter. It’s easy to overlook the filter and go months without changing it, but filters are inexpensive and you usually don’t need tools to change them.

It’s important to change your filter because a dusty one will restrict airflow from the AC unit and can even damage it. Depending on how much you use your air conditioner, you should change your air filter every one or two months.

Keep Your System On

This may seem counterintuitive, but turning your AC off and back on can actually strain it more than just keeping it running.

When you leave home in the morning, set the thermostat to a higher temperature rather than shutting the system off. When you get home, your system won’t be starting from scratch to cool the house down.

You may even consider a programmable thermostat that you can set to turn on at a particular time. Set it to start cooling your home 30 minutes before you get there and you’ll come home to a comfortable temperature without wasting power.

Check Your Thermostat

The thermostat is the air conditioner’s “brain,” so if it isn’t working properly, the whole system may not function. Most modern thermostats have a digital screen, but some have a dial or slider.

For digital thermostats, check if the screen comes on and make sure the batteries are fresh. If the screen doesn’t come on even with new batteries, check for any disconnected wires.

If you have an analog thermostat, set your system to a certain temperature and check it with a thermometer. Your system should cycle on until it reaches the temperature you set.

Have a Professional Inspect Your System

While you can perform basic maintenance yourself, you should have a service technician perform routine checks a few times a year. Certified HVAC technicians are trained to find problems with HVAC systems that you may not notice.

AC companies often offer free quotes for repairs, so if you suspect something is wrong with your system, have a technician inspect it. An AC and heating tune-up will save you money in the long run if it prevents wear on your system.

The Bottom Line on HVAC Maintenance

With the heat of summer in full swing, heating and cooling maintenance are more important than ever.

If you’re wondering, “Where can I find AC repair near me?” P & M HVAC is the solution you need! We’ve been serving the Houston community for over 75 years.

Contact us today for a walkthrough of AC repair, free estimate, or complete system inspection!