I recommend 3 to 4 times per year. A clean filter allows the system to work efficiently and can extend the life of the unit.
The filter will either be a cardboard filter that will need to be replaced or a washable fiberglass type filter that can be cleaned with water. If there is dirt and dust preventing you from seeing through the filter, it’s time to change or clean.
Cardboard filters are less expensive but not as convenient as the fiberglass type. Either filter when properly maintained is effective and can be provided during a service call or purchased at most home improvement stores.
Properly maintaining filters will help avoid service calls. Air conditioning systems and heaters do not require monthly or yearly maintenance under ordinary circumstances. Following manufacture guidelines will help your systems last for many years.
A freon charge is completed when a new unit is installed and should last the lifetime of the system. If the freon level tests low, it is likely there is a line leak that requires professional attention.
Indication of a low freon level is the systems inability to cool efficiently. The unit will have to be inspected by a professional to determine the exact problem.
It can be as simple as a dirty filter or as complicated as a bad compressor. If the filter checks out then the latter may be a possibility. This is another instance where a professional will have to be contacted.
The problem may be the circuit breaker in your homes breaker box or there may be a more serious problem with the system. Call a professional before attempting any troubleshooting.
Do not attempt to resolve this problem yourself. A natural gas system is nothing to fool with. Call a professional immediately.
I recommend setting the thermostat at a desired temperature, usually 77 to 78 degrees for the air conditioner and 68 to 70 for the heater, then leave the unit on auto. This way the system will circulate on and off throughout the day maintaining a steady temperature. Turning the system on during the hottest or coldest part of the day makes the unit work hard and use more energy.