Exploring The Importance Of Air Conditioner Maintenance

Hello, my name is Darby Aldrich. I would like to talk to you about the importance of maintaining your air conditioning system. When I moved to a hot climate, I did not realize how vital having a running air conditioner was for living comfortably. When the unit just stopped working one day, the temperature inside the house rivaled the piping hot weather outdoors. We had to go to the community center to keep the kids from feeling sick. While we were gone, we had a local HVAC contractor fix the unit. She let us know that some simple maintenance tasks would prevent that situation in the future. I will use this site to closely explore those tasks in great detail. I hope you can use the information to keep your air conditioner running like new. Thanks.

What To Do When Your Home Doesn't Feel Warm And Comfortable Enough


If your home doesn't feel warm enough when you use your furnace, check your duct system for leaks. A duct system receives and distributes hot air from your furnace. It also pulls cool air from your home and redirects it back to the furnace, which heats the air all over again. If the ducts develop holes or pull loose from the vents in the house, the air doesn't circulate properly to the furnace, which leads to varied air temperatures in the home. Instead, the cool air from your attic and basement mixes with the hot air of your furnace. You can troubleshoot, isolate and possibly fix the problems on your own. Here's what you do.

How Can You Check the Ducts in Your Attic and Basement?

Most of your heating and cooling system's ductwork travels through or inside the attic, basement, floors and walls of the house. However, checking the ducts in your attic and basement are the easiest locations to troubleshoot. The ducts are out in the open in these places, so it makes it easier for you to check the housing of each duct separately.

You can check the attic's ductwork first. Be sure to place the thermostat's settings in the "on" position. You don't want the furnace to cycle off and on while you inspect the ducts. If there are leaks in the ductwork, you need to feel or hear air seeping out of the ducts as the furnace pushes air through the system.

If your attic is dark or receives very little sunlight, grab a flashlight to see your way around the room. If you use the attic as a storage place for old furniture and other things, move these items to the center of the attic or to an area that doesn't have ductwork.

Now, follow the steps below:

  • Focus the light of the flashlight on each duct in the attic. If you have a plastic duct system, look for tears and holes in the material of the ductwork. For metal or fiberglass ducts, check to see if the material lifts up, bends or warps in places.
  • Listen out for seeping air as it escapes through any damaged areas on the ducts. You can also use a thin piece of notebook paper to see if air leaks out the ducts. The paper should flutter or move slightly if air does blow against it.
  • Examine the area between the ducts and vents. Are the ducts firmly placed over the vents, or are they loose and pulling away from the vents?

You can now inspect and troubleshoot your basement. Just use the same techniques for the basement as you did for the attic.

What Can You Fix Yourself?

Contact your heating specialist right away if you see damaged areas on the housings of the ductwork in your attic or basement. The contractor may need to replace the ducts to solve your problem. It's a good idea to avoid fixing the damaged ducts yourself. Covering the damages with tape or some other adhesives may only repair them temporarily. 

But if the ducts pull away from the openings of the air vents, you can put them back into place without calling the contractor for help. However, you may need someone to help you do this step, especially if the ductwork is too bulky or large to lift on your own.

To keep the ducts in place, use silver foil duct tape to seal the areas that connect the ducts to the vents' openings. Silver foil tape is wide enough to cover and seal in your duct system's air better than thin tape, such as electrical tape and masking tape. The air will stop escaping into the attic and basement when you use the right type of tape. 

If the air in each room still feels lukewarm or cool, contact a heating contractor for help. The contractor can check your furnace to see if it has a problem, such as broken or damaged heating elements. Also, the heating contractors may inspect the ducts beneath your flooring and inside the walls for issues.


7 April 2015