It’s getting hot! For many of us, an air conditioner is our greatest weapon against the heat. Make sure your air conditioner stays in tip-top shape with these great tips for air conditioner maintenance.
How to Clean and Maintain your Air Conditioner
Maintaining your air conditioner can be the key to having a system for a long time and it can also keep electricity bills down.
Ensuring that the system is properly cared for is the key to keeping it running and keeping cool. Here are a few tips that can help you:
- Turn the power off. Before starting any maintenance yourself, ensure that the power to the unit is shut off.
- Clean the outside of the unit to ensure there is no debris or grass growing around the unit and blocking the fan from the air. There should not be bushes or leaves in the outside grills of the unit or the airflow will be compromised and the unit may overheat.
- Clean the evaporator coil. The evaporator should be cleaned once a year if it is accessible. You should see the coil coming from the unit covered with foam and taped in place. Remove the tape and the foam (to be replaced later). You will then see an access plate, held together by screws. Clean the underside of the evaporator coil with a sturdy brush. Clean the tray below the evaporator unit with a tablespoon of bleach and to prevent fungus.
- Straighten fins in the unit. If you notice the fins are bent in the condenser coil, use a condenser comb to straighten the lines. If the lines are bent, the unit is not receiving proper airflow and can overheat and burn up the motor in the unit.
- Level the unit. Also, ensure the concrete slab is level so that the unit runs properly. If there is a slope to the unit, the compressor may not run properly and fail earlier than a normal, balanced unit.
- Clean the condenser coil. Use a commercial coil cleaner to flush the coil clean. Clean the fins with a soft brush to get rid of dirt, not water from the hose, which can compact the dirt into mud and block the fins in the coil system. Clean the fan. If a unit is noisy or not operating properly, it is usually due to the fan. The blades may be dirty and need cleaned or the fan blades could be loose and need screws tightened.
- Check your ductwork. Ensure that the ductwork is clean and that there are no obstructions blocking airflow. Mold and debris can be found in the ductwork, so it is important to have ducts cleaned routinely to improve airflow and air quality in the home.
- Change the blower filter. It is best to change the filter twice a year, usually before summer and before winter starts is a good reminder. You will want a clean filter to trap dust and mold from the home.
- If your unit isn’t cooling properly, you may need Freon added, usually due to a leak in the coolant line. This part must be done by a professional. Handling Freon requires a license and is dangerous if not handled properly. Find locals in your area that can help with Freon re-charging.
- Turn the unit back on. You are now set up with a clean unit ready to cool your home for the summer.
Basic maintenance is required for everything, especially items with motors and condensers! Use these tips for air conditioner maintenance to make sure your air conditioner works are maximum efficiency.
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Image Source: Michelle Tribe, Flickr