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Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

The dog days of summer are here! The temperatures are at an all-time high, and days are longer than ever. For most of us, the air conditioner is our best friend during the long summer days. Without it, we might melt away. So make sure your air conditioner stays in tip-top condition with these life-saving tips to keep your unit up to par. So you can stay cool this summer, let’s pull apart air conditioner maintenance. 

Central air conditioning unit

The Importance of Air Conditioner Maintenance

Air conditioner maintenance includes checking how efficiently and effectively your filters, coils, and fins are throughout the year. Neglecting the necessary cleaning of your air conditioner will decline to perform and the overall increase of your energy bill.

Before beginning any air conditioning maintenance yourself, ensure that the power to the unit has been shut off. Safety first! The last thing you need is to be electrocuted or hurt in the process of cleaning your air conditioner. Next, clean the outside of the unit to ensure no debris or grass growing blocking the fan from the air. If the outside grill of the unit is clogged or compromised, the unit may overheat. With that, let’s move onto the tips and tricks to keep your air conditioner up and running.

Replacement for air conditioning filter

Air Conditioner Filters

An essential task to ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner on this list is the replacement or cleaning of its filters. Dirty or clogged filters can block the normal airflow and reduce the system’s overall efficiency significantly. In addition, air that can bypass the filter has a possibility of carrying that dirt and debris into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing function. Replacing a filter with a clean one can lower your energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

For central air conditioning, filters are along the return duct’s length either in the walls, ceiling furnace, or air conditioning unit itself. Homeowners with room air conditioners have a tilter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Be sure to check before replacing your filter if your filter can be cleaned or reused. Filters are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Change your filter twice a year, typically before summer and before the winter months. However, if you are running your air conditioner more frequently, it may need to be cleaned more regularly based on your furry friends and dust conditions.

Air conditioning coils including the evaporator and condenser coils

Air Conditioner Coils

The unit’s evaporator and condenser coils collect dirt and debris over their months and years of service. A clean filter can prevent these coils from soiling more quickly. However, in time they will collect dirt and need to be replaced. In addition, the dirt accumulated on the coil reduces airflow and insulates it, reducing its ability to absorb the heat from your home. Therefore, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

To clean your evaporator coil, you should be able to see the coil coming from the unit covered with foam and taped into place. Remove the tape and the foam, and you will see an access plate held together by a screw. Clean the underside of the evaporator coil with a sturdy brush. The tray underneath the evaporator unit should be cleaned with a tablespoon of bleach to prevent fungus.

Condenser coils are typically located outside and can become very dirty if the surrounding environment is dusty or has nearby foliage. Therefore, you should minimize dirt and debris surrounding the unit. Sources of dirt and debris could result from dryer vents, mowing your yard, or nearby foliage. It is vital to trim the foliage back at least 2 feet to allow adequate airflow around the condenser. To clean the condenser coil, use a commercial coil cleaner to flush the coil clean.

Air conditioning coil fins

Coil Fins

The aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils can easily be bent and create a block of airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool referred to as a “fin comb” that will comb these fins back into nearly their original condition. Take a soft brush or the “fin comb” to remove any dirt to clean the coil fins. Do not use water from the hose. Water from the hose could form the dirt into mud and block the fins in the coil system. If the unit becomes noisy while operating, it is usually due to the fan. The block could be due to dirt buildup, or the fan blades could be loose. 

Condensate Drains

It is good to remember to occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels to remove clogging. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and as a result, excess moisture will remain in your home. Excess moisture is not only uncomfortable but can cause discoloration to your walls and carpets.. 

Window air conditioning unit

Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners 

It is essential for homeowners with room air conditioning to inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure contact with the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal if it does not, allowing cool air to escape from your home. Do not try to cool the whole neighborhood or throw your money out the door. Ensure the room air conditioner is sealed correctly!

Professional preforming air conditioning maintenance

Hiring a Professional

If your unit is still not cooling appropriately, your unit more than likely has issues beyond routine maintenance. If your air conditioner needs repairs other than regular maintenance, please hire a professional technician. A trained technician can locate and fix problems with your air conditioning system. Do not attempt this by yourself if you are not familiar with air conditioning units. 

Summary

With the summer here at full force, and your air conditioner running more than ever, it is essential to maintain your air conditioner maintenance. Ensure you clean or replace your filters out at least twice a year, and your unit has at least a 2 ft clearing of debris or dirt. However, if you need to replace your current air conditioner, energy.gov is an excellent resource for selecting a new unit and installation. However, if you are reading to replace your current air conditioner unit, we are here to help!

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