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Avoid Unnecessary Breakdowns on Your AC System

Many of us take air conditioning for granted until the moment it breaks down on a hot day. Skokie, IL, gets quite warm in the summer months, and you will need to run the air conditioner when you are inside. If something goes wrong with your HVAC system, you can call Gartner Heating & Cooling for a repair or replacement. But why spend money on repairs when you can prevent the breakdown from happening in the first place? Many repairs can be avoided through preventive maintenance on the AC. In this article you will learn some recommendations on AC breakdowns.

How to Prevent Unnecessary AC System Breakdowns

Perform Regular Maintenance

Like any other appliance in your home, your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to keep it running at top efficiency. Here are some simple precautions to take with your HVAC system.

Change Filter

The most important thing you can do is clean the air filter. Every AC has an air filter that collects debris in the air. When this filter gets clogged, the system will not be able to run properly due to the congestion. A dirty filter may even put the debris back into the air, lowering the air quality in your home. The process is simple for most adults, and most units have an indicator light that tells you when to clean it. There's no excuse not to do it at least once a month.

Clean Outdoor Area

Leaves and branches can get into your HVAC system and cause it to malfunction. While you can't control Mother Nature, you can make an effort to keep the outdoor area near your unit clean.

Get Professional Maintenance

The maintenance you perform on your own isn't quite enough. You should also call a professional from Gartner Heating & Cooling to perform comprehensive maintenance that will involve cleaning and inspecting things you are not trained to do. Most people get maintenance in early spring before it starts to get hot. If you tend to forget to schedule maintenance meetings, talk to a representative to learn how they can schedule the appointment for you automatically.


Your roof, walls, windows, and doors can only keep the outdoor air out so well. Holes and weak points in your home will allow hot air from outside to get inside. You want to insulate your home to prevent this from happening. Start from the beginning by using energy-efficient building materials for your roof, siding, windows, and doors. If you haven't updated the insulation in your walls recently, install extra insulation. You can also use weather stripping around doors and windows, cover your water heater, and buy a new screen for your screen door.

Keep Up With EPA Laws

We have learned a lot in recent years about how home appliances contribute to our carbon footprint. In order to keep homes as environmentally friendly as possible, regulations are put into place. Your air conditioner must meet a specific efficiency requirement, or you will need to replace it. As we learn more, we can expect new and improved requirements to come out. Know the requirements, and avoid meeting the bare minimum. If your unit isn't compliant, a professional will not be allowed to work on it. As a good rule of thumb, look for products with an ENERGY STAR sticker. These products meet even higher efficiency standards, so you have a higher chance of the unit remaining legal. Plus, ENERGY STAR products are better for the environment and your wallet.

Minimize Usage

You and your family don't need to blast the air conditioner every time you feel a little uncomfortable. The more you use your AC, the more wear and tear it experiences and the lower the life expectancy. Do what you can to minimize the amount that you use your air conditioner with these tips.

Find Alternative Methods of Staying Cool

Your air conditioner isn't the only way to stay cool. There are other eco-friendly ways to stay cool on a hot day. Try wearing thin clothes, closing the blinds, eating cold food and drinks, and using fans instead of the AC. Small changes in your daily behavior can make a big change in how often the unit runs.

Install a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an advanced thermostat that automatically makes changes to your HVAC settings. You simply program what days and times you want to change the temperature. If you want to make a change manually, you can do that, too, and you can do it from anywhere you have cell service. Simply connect the thermostat to your smartphone, and you can change the temperature from anywhere with the touch of a button.

Adjust Temperature

A small change in your thermostat settings can make a big difference in how much you use your AC. If you like the temperature at 68 degrees, try turning it up to 69 or 70 degrees. One degree change can not only significantly prolong the life expectancy of your HVAC system but also save you money on your utility bills.

Be Mindful

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a summer day and accidentally leave a window or door open while the HVAC system is running. You may even accidentally leave for the day without turning the AC off. Mom wasn't exaggerating when she chastised you for not shutting the door when you go outside. However, she probably didn't tell you that she forgot once or twice herself, too.

Stay Alert

A prolonged problem will result in more damage and expensive repairs. You may even have to replace the whole unit if you let something go long enough. It's your responsibility to keep your eyes and ears open to anything unusual. If you take action immediately, the damage (and the repair bill) won't be so bad. Use your senses to spot a problem. Do you smell something weird or hear strange sounds coming from the unit? Do you see something alarming? Does the air not feel cold enough? Don't avoid the problem. The next section will cover signs of HVAC trouble in more detail.

Signs of HVAC Trouble

No HVAC unit will run perfectly forever. Inevitably, something will go wrong. Here are some common HVAC issues and how to resolve them.

Blowing Warm Air

Your air conditioning unit should be consistent. When you set a temperature, it should blow out air at that temperature. If you notice that your HVAC unit seems to have a mind of its own, there's something wrong. A professional HVAC contractor will check to see if the problem is an improperly programmed thermostat, a refrigeration leak, or a frozen coil.

High Energy Bill

The air conditioner uses a lot of energy, and it makes up a large part of the average electric bill. The harder the unit works, the higher your bill will be. That's why a higher bill indicates a problem with the unit. If the product itself isn't working at a reasonable efficiency, you may need to get another one. If the unit is not the problem, try the solutions mentioned above.


The AC should not leak. If you do notice a leak, it's a definite sign of something gone wrong. Water can drip from the vent or under the unit if there is a structural problem. Another possible cause could be mold growing in the air conditioner. Any leak would require a professional's assistance.

Funny Smell

A funny smell is not only unpleasant but also alarming. If you smell a rotten smell coming from the AC, that could indicate a gas leak. You should turn the unit off and call a professional immediately. If you experience a burning smell, that could very well be something burning. If you don't see the problem yourself, call a professional.

No Power

Your AC unit requires power for it to run. You can tell that the unit isn't powering up if no air blows and no lights pop up on the dashboard. First, check that the unit is plugged in properly. You'd be surprised how many people think the unit is broken when the cord just fell out of the outlet. If it is plugged in properly, you should see if other electrical items work when plugged into that same particular outlet. If the AC works when plugged into another outlet, the problem is with the outlet and not the air conditioner. If all other items except the AC work in a particular unit, the air conditioner might have seen its final day. Before you spend the money on a new air conditioner, have a professional examine it to ensure it can't be resolved.

Gartner Heating & Cooling

Gartner Heating & Cooling has been providing AC repairs for both residential and commercial clients in Skokie, IL, and the Northern Chicagoland area since 1985. This family-owned business only hires highly trained HVAC professionals, and we pride ourselves on the high quality of service we provide each and every client. Available services include:

  • installation

  • repair

  • tune-up

  • equipment assessment

  • duct services

  • air quality testing

We even offer financing for jobs you may not be able to pay for in full right away. Call Gartner Heating & Cooling to ensure you always have a comfortable temperature in your home. No hidden fees or selling you things you don't need. Just honest work from local HVAC contractors.

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