Air Conditioning Upkeep
It is starting to get hot out. It is time to turn on the air conditioner. But wait, have you done a yearly check. Just as there is maintenance you do on your car to help run better and last longer there is maintenance you can do on your air conditioner to help cool more efficiently and last longer.
Most of these steps can be performed on a window air conditioner, but, I am focusing on a central air unit. First, shut off the breaker to the outside unit. Then you will want to clear any debris from around the unit including trimming any plants that are around the unit. There needs to be plenty of air space around the unit for air flow. It should be cleared for 12″-18″ at least. A little more is always better.
Cleanliness Is How To Get a Long-running Air Conditioner
Then you want to clean the fins off. You can use the garden hose for this. Do not use a pressure washer. It can damage the fins and it will not cool as it should. If you feel comfortable you can loosen the fan on top and have someone hold it up so not to damage the wires. Then you can spray from the inside out. Spray until it appears that no debris is coming out. Then you can take a soft bristle brush and vacuum to clean the outside of the fins. But be careful as the brush goes over the fins. You do not want to bend or damage them.
You Need To Be On the Level
You should check and see if the outside unit is level. Being level protects the unit from damage. Lastly, check the refrigerant line’s insulation. This is the larger line. If the insulation is cracked, damaged, or missing replace it. It will help with the efficiency of the unit.
Inside Is Where It Is At
On the inside around the furnace, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure that the drain line from the condensate tray is clear. When the air conditioner is running and the warm air hits the “A” coil, condensation is formed and drips to the pan. If the drain line is clogged it will back up and cause water to flow out from around the tray making a mess. Some even pour a little bleach in the line to clean out any bacteria.
A Clean Filter Is A Clean House
Next thing is to make sure the filter is clean. A clean filter will help the blower motor work more efficiently. The filter should be checked monthly. If the filter is clogged it can cause the blower motor to fail prematurely.
The Lower End Of Things
After that you can do, if your system was designed with upper and lower return vents, is to cover the lower vents and make sure the upper vents are clear. If the vents do not have louvers you can shut, you can get magnets to place over the lower vent. This will help your air conditioner work better.
Do The Tech 2 Step
The last step to take is to have an HVAC technician do a check and clean up of the unit. They should make sure the freon levels are correct in the unit. They can check the controls and even catch a problem before it shuts down the air conditioner. They will also be able to clean the coils better than you can. They can straighten out some fins that may have been damaged. They can clean the inside of the “A” coil and the condensate tray.
Doing yearly maintenance on your air conditioner will help work more efficiently and last longer. So the short time it takes will pay off in the long run. When we do are Home Inspection Service, we check each one of these steps and will recommend what step that need to be done.