Tips for Maintaining Home Air Conditioners

Tips for Maintaining Home Air Conditioners

Proper air conditioning maintenance can help in increasing the lifespan of your unit, also saves money on costly early replacement and maintenance. On the flip-side, a neglected air conditioner loses roughly 5% of its efficiency each year that it operates without upkeep.

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The amount of maintenance a homeowner can perform on an air conditioner is rather limited, but some simple, easy to perform steps can breathe new life into an older, poorly performing units or those that produce foul odors. Fortunately, there are some very simple things that any homeowner can do to keep their A/C unit running efficiently and perhaps even less often throughout the warm months. The best time to use these tips is just before each cooling season begins.

Cleaning/Changing Air Conditioner Filters

Regular cleaning/changing of your filter will ensure the best filtration, increase the life of your machine, and give you peace of mind that you’re breathing easier. It’s recommended to replace the filter every 90 days, but it depends on the usage of your unit and how dirty the air is. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Alternately you can use reusable filters and can follow simple cleaning instructions as stated by the manufacturer.

Maintaining Air Conditioner Coils

You can clean your air conditioner coils by using warm water with the coil cleaner (or with the simple detergent) in the spray bottle, spray this solution over the evaporator coils, give the solution a few seconds to a few minutes to soak in and loosen debris, scrub with the brush. Reapply as needed, wipe away the loose material with a soft cloth or brush.

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Maintaining Coil Fins

The dirt and debris on the coil fins can block the airflow through the coil, the aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils can easily bent, use the stream from garden hose, spray inside out to remove dirt or debris between the coil fins, use commercial cleaning spray is the fins are very dirty. Do not use pressure washer as the pressure can damage the fins. You can also carefully straighten the bent fins using a butter knife or commercially available fin-straightening tool.

Cleaning Compressor

The outdoor compressor unit should be kept clean too. Keep it clear of surrounding grass and plants and brush away dust, leaves and cobwebs regularly. Running a vacuum cleaner over the air intake can help clear dust from inside.

Maintaining the Drainage System

A plugged drain can either cause damage by flooding onto the floor or, if the system is equipped with a drain float, cause the system to stop cooling in order to avoid flooding.The algae and mould can built up overtime and potentially can plug the drain, so if the drain is either not flowing or flowing very slowly. Find the drain line (usually a PVC pipe) use wet/dry vacuum to clean the drain.

Hiring a Professional

Its advisable to hire a professional service when your air conditioner needs more than a regular maintenance. A licenced and trained technician will find the problems and fix it whenever your air conditioning unit needs an attention.

The Technician should:

  • Inspect the control box
  • Inspect coils, fan motor and blades
  • Check the amount of refrigerant, refrigerant leaks using leak detector.
  • Measure the airflow through evaporator coil
  • Inspect the accuracy of the thermostat
  • Check for the seal duct leakage in the central systems
  • Inspect the electric control sequence to make sure that the heating and cooling system can’t operate simultaneously.

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