ACC Experts: Keeping your A/C running through the summer heat

The summer heat is here and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Austin Community College District (ACC) Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) experts share things you can do as a homeowner to protect your AC and reduce the cost of energy to cool your home. 

Written by: Fereidoun Bakhshi, ACC HVAC Department Chair

There are two parts to a residential air-conditioning unit. The indoor unit, also known as the air handler, and the outside unit, also known as the condenser. The efficiency of an AC unit is contingent on the state of these two moments.

Indoor Unit Maintenance

The indoor unit is called the air handler because the blower motor inside this component circulates the air throughout the conditioned space. To keep this running well, the air filter should be clean and free of dust and debris. If the air filter is dirty, it will create a restriction to the airflow, hence decreasing efficiency, and in the case of a real dirty filter, an “evaporator coil freeze,” among other difficulties for the air handler.

An expensive air filter cannot capture all the dust and other impurities in the air, and they will deposit on the evaporator coil and create restrictions on the airflow. Hence a clean coil is essential for the proper operation of an AC unit.

Outdoor Unit Maintenance

The outdoor unit or the condenser rejects the heat that was picked up inside the conditioned space into the outdoor ambient. If the condenser coil is dirty such as grass cuttings, dust, and debris, the condenser cannot reject the heat efficiently. Besides the high usage of electricity, it could also create difficulties with the compressor, which is the heart of the unit. 

Shrubbery and tall grass and such should be trimmed in order to allow the free flow of ambient air around the outdoor unit.

Other Maintenance

It is really important that all the doors and windows in your house close properly and there is no gap. Visual inspection is equally important that the ductwork carrying the air throughout the conditioned space is sealed properly and the cold air does not escape into the attic.

Lastly, have your AC unit inspected by a professional before the cooling and/or heating season.

ACC offers fast-track programs to skill up HVAC technicians as demand grows rapidly. The college currently offers a 50 percent discount for HVAC technicians and more than 20 other programs. In just 16 to 20 weeks, and for under $1,500, students can complete the program and earn two industry certifications. Most students graduate with a job already lined up. 

For more information and a full list of the programs, visit