The Basics of Air Conditioner Maintenance
1. Check Your Air Filter
No matter what kind of cooling system you have – central air, ductless air conditioning, window air conditioners, etc. – it has an air filter, and it needs to be checked regularly. Depending upon the type of system you have and the type of existing service, the air filter needs to be replaced or washed to remove dust, pollen, etc. Doing so means that your air quality will be better and your cooling system will run more efficiently because the cooled air doesn’t have to fight through gunk to cool your home. That also means your home will cool faster, and you won’t use as much energy to cool it off in the first place.
2. Check Your Air Vents
Whether you have a whole house cooling system or room air conditioners, the vents are just as important as the air filter. While it would take a lot of dust, dander, pollen, etc. to fully block a vent, you still don’t want cool air blowing whatever dust has landed on the vents around the room. It’s also unattractive. Wipe the surface of the vent with a microfiber cloth or a slightly dampened towel. Use a pipe cleaner to get in where the cloth won’t reach. If the pipe cleaner shows black fuzz or gunk it could be a sign of mold. Have a professional check your vents because mold can make residents very sick and worsen asthma or other respiratory issues.
3. Remove Debris on the Outside
Just like a dirty filter interferes will efficient operation, so does the gunk on the outside. Check the exterior of your compressor, condenser, window unit, etc. for leaves and debris that could cause a clog. Vacuum the fins to remove dirt.
4. Clean the Area Outside the A/C Unit
Raking leaves that collected near the exterior of your unit means less debris being pulled in when it’s running. Cut any branches, bushes or vegetation near it so there’s a two-foot gap.
5. Keep It Level
If you have a compressor or condenser, over time the soil under it can shift, causing the unit to no longer be level and that can cause a number of serious problems. Check that it’s still level. Use shims to correct it if not. Similarly, for window units, houses and sills can sag slightly over time. Make sure it has a slight downward tilt so that water drains out of the air conditioner and away from the house.
Advanced Air Conditioning System Maintenance
The following tasks can be done by a DIYer, but they take a bit more care, patience, and/or skill. If you’re concerned about doing them correctly, professional maintenance might be a better solution. Call Tragar and their air conditioning professionals can discuss it with you.
Straighten Bent Fins
That’s where the air comes in so bent fins make the rest of your system work harder by decreasing the correct air flow. Use a dull knife like a butter knife to gently bend them back into place. Be careful so you don’t damage any tubing.
Clean the Evaporator Coils
This will vary slightly by unit. Check the instruction manual for your system to see how to do it.
Clean the Evaporator Drain
This is easier than cleaning the coils but since water from humidity removed by the cooling system flows through this, mold could have grown in the drain. First, find where the drain exits your home and ensure no debris, dirt, leaves, etc. are blocking it. Then check the instruction manual for your unit for how to proceed.
Listen To Your System
If it makes any weird noises you haven’t heard before, call a professional to check it out.
Tragar Keeps You Cool
Let Tragar help you stay cool this summer by keeping your cooling system well maintained. An ounce of prevention saves headaches and higher repair costs later. Let Tragar and our HVAC experts take care of it. Contact us today.