Why do I need annual service on my air conditioner?
During the hot summer months, air conditioning is a lifesaver. It helps keep our homes and offices cool and comfortable, allowing us to work, sleep, and relax in peace. However, just like any other appliance, air conditioners require proper maintenance to operate efficiently and effectively. Neglecting your air conditioner can lead to a host of problems.
Decreased energy efficiency: Regular maintenance helps your air conditioner operate efficiently, which can save you money on your energy bills.
Increased risk of breakdowns: Regular maintenance can help detect and prevent minor problems before they turn into major issues that require costly repairs or replacement.
Issues with indoor air quality: Air conditioners can accumulate dirt, dust, and other allergens over time, which can negatively impact indoor air quality. Regular maintenance helps keep your air conditioner clean and improves the quality of the air you breathe.
Shortened equipment lifespan: Proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your air conditioner, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacement.
How do I maintain my air conditioner?
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of air conditioner maintenance, let’s look at the best way to keep it in good working order:
Cleaning the Condenser and Compressor
Power off the unit – You’ll need to make sure that power is not running through the unit when you’re ready to clean it. You can accomplish this by removing the breaker, moving the switch to the off position, or turning off power to the condenser at the main electrical panel.
Clear around the unit – The condenser fins are where most of the debris will get stuck, and you need to carefully clean this away. You could use a rough paintbrush to remove the debris that is easy to dislodge. After this, you can clean the finer debris with your vacuum cleaner and the brush attachment. You’ll also need to keep the area surrounding the condenser free from plant growth or other objects within at least a 2 ft radius around the unit.
Straighten fins – Sometimes fins accumulate a lot of gunk and dirt not easily removed with a brush. Instead, try using an old dinner knife to effectively scrape any stuck-on debris between the fins, and reshape any fins that are bent.
Clean the condenser fan – This is also an area where a lot of dust, debris, and leaves can accumulate, and it needs to be cleaned at regular intervals. The easiest way to get it cleaned is by wiping it down with a damp cloth and then letting it dry in the sun.
Clean the fins – The easiest method to clean the fins is by spraying water with a garden hose and nozzle. This removes a lot of dirt that wouldn’t have been dislodged with earlier methods. You need to take care that you don’t get water on the fan motor. If your fan motor doesn’t come with sealed bearings, then you can check your fan’s lubrication as well. A few drops of electric motor oil should do nicely.
Cleaning the Evaporator and Blower
Clean the Evaporator Coil – The evaporator coil door is usually found inside the blower/furnace unit and a lot of dust and debris accumulates. You can use a soft brush to get dust out of the way then spray it with a no-rinse coil cleaner to get rid of other deposits to improve its efficiency. You can also use mild detergents and water to get rid of the dirt between the coils.
Clean the Evaporator Drain – The evaporator drain can get clogged due to the buildup of algae and mold, and it needs to be unclogged. A clogged drain can cause flooding or cause the unit to stop functioning. Clogging can also cause a bad odor to emanate from the unit. The drainpipe is usually an inch-wide PVC pipe that either drains inside (sink or utility drain) or outside (near the condenser unit). You can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to get rid of debris in the evaporator drain.
Change the Blower Filter – Dirty air filters can reduce the airflow in your air conditioner, making it work harder and reducing its efficiency. Clean or replace your air filters every one to six months. The more affordable fiberglass air filters should be changed monthly. The four-inch accordion filters can be changed out every six months. This, of course, depends on the number of people and pets living in your home. And, depending on the filter you choose, you can also remove pollutants like viruses, allergy, and asthma triggers. The filter is usually found in the enclosure at the end of the fresh air return duct. Removing this from the enclosure is simple.
If you’re done with all the steps above, your HVAC and AC unit should be a lot cleaner and more effective at controlling the temperature. You can now turn on the power and test if it is working correctly. Regular air conditioner maintenance is essential for efficient and effective operation, reducing the risk of breakdowns, improving indoor air quality, and extending the lifespan of your air conditioner. By following the tips outlined above, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly and comfortably throughout the summer months.