An air conditioner that isn't used regularly will need a few extra steps added to its regular maintenance, as long periods without use can exacerbate some issues if they aren't taken care of. Inspecting all moving parts, switching out replaceable parts as necessary, and having your ducts inspected can find potential problems early and keep your system running smoothly whenever you need it.
Inspect Moving Parts
Some of the most important components to your air conditioner are its moving parts, such as fans, motors, and belts. When these parts start to wear out or become damaged, they can cause damage to your air conditioner or simply cause it to stop functioning.
For example, when a fan belt starts to loosen or crack, it can cause a whining or screeching sound when it runs; if it falls off, your fan will no longer be able to move. Likewise, if the bearings in your blower motor wheel aren't well-lubricated, they can cause a similar sound when metal scrapes against metal, and can quickly damage the valuable motor.
Because of this, your air conditioner's moving parts should be inspected whenever maintenance is done, especially if your air conditioner isn't used often. These parts can still wear down when your air conditioner is not in use, so checking proactively can help reduce the risk of damage.
Swap Out Components
An air conditioner that isn't used frequently won't need parts replaced as often as one that is used regularly. This includes components like thermostat batteries, air filters, and to a lesser extent, fuses.
Some of these parts will require regular replacing as part of standard maintenance, though the time between which they need to be replaced will depend on the specific part. For example, while filters should be replaced every few months, batteries will likely last longer and fuses even longer than those.
However, it's still a good idea to check these parts routinely. Check your filter to make sure it's not very dirty; the dirtier it gets, the more difficult it is for air to pass through, which can cause strain on your air conditioner. Likewise, batteries in your thermostat can start to leak even if they still hold a charge, which can cause a white powder-like substance to form in your battery terminals.
Like moving parts, these components can wear down even when your air conditioner isn't in use. Your filter can catch more dirt and your batteries can leak, so inspecting and replacing them as part of regular maintenance is a great way to keep things running smoothly. To make things even easier, keep spares of all such components in your house so replacements will only take a few minutes.
Have Ducts Inspected
As a mostly separate part of your air conditioning system, your ducts aren't as affected by the use or lack thereof as other parts. While this means you won't wear them out faster with heavy use, it also means that they will wear down even when you aren't using your air conditioner.
Over time, the air-tight seal on your ducts can start to fade, and the insulation can start to fall away.
A few problems can arise from old and unmaintained ducts. With gaps in your ducts, cool air can escape before it reaches your house, causing your energy bills to rise. These gaps can also let pests in, which can pose a serious health hazard. Finally, the decrease in efficiency can cause your air conditioner to wear down much faster.
When your air conditioner goes long periods without use, your ducts still need to be inspected once every few years. If you're worried about pest infestations or you need to see if your ducts need cleaning after not being used for extended amounts of time, make duct inspections part of your regular maintenance.
To learn more, contact an air conditioning company.