AC Maintenance – How to Keep Your AC in Top Shape

Your AC unit is an expensive investment, so proper care must be taken in its maintenance to avoid unnecessary repairs when temperatures heat up in summer. Use this simple maintenance checklist as you head into high gear this season.

Roxanne Downer, Commerce Editor for Today’s Homeowner with experience writing and editing, believes a preventative maintenance contract for HVAC equipment would benefit homeowners to ensure energy efficiency, system longevity and priority service when the time comes. People often ask does home warranty cover AC replacement and similar questions. For those, ask a professional.

Check the Condenser

Your condenser is the outdoor unit of your HVAC system and helps transfer heat from inside your home into the atmosphere. A properly functioning condenser can reduce your energy bills and extend its service life significantly.

Checking for condenser damage should be an integral component of AC maintenance services, including visual inspection and cleaning. In addition, evaluation should include evaluation of air conditioning contactor and start/run capacitor(s), which are commonly subject to failure, along with oiling of fan motor.

To perform this task, ensure all power has been cut by either unplugging the disconnect switch or switching off the breaker/block. With a multimeter in hand, test all fuses for integrity.

Clean the Drain Line

AC drain lines are PVC pipes that run from indoor evaporator coils to an exterior drain pan or drainage line and are intended to drain excess condensation away from your system, but over time can become clogged with algae or debris, leading to problems like water damage, mold growth and poor indoor air quality.

As an easy DIY task, using vinegar to flush your drain line can prevent future clogs. This quick and straightforward task only takes minutes – simply switch off power, locate AC unit and follow manufacturer guidelines when using cleaning solutions (in particular gurgling or bubbling noises could indicate there may be issues in drainage line that require immediate attention).

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Clean the Evaporator Coils

Your air conditioner‘s evaporator coils dehumidify the air, but they also attract dust and dirt that clogs them up, leading to higher energy bills and potential equipment breakdowns. When this happens, more heat exchange occurs than necessary leading to higher energy costs and potential system breakdowns.

To keep coils looking their best, remove any foliage from around the unit, clean regularly around it, remove debris such as dryer vent lint and fallen leaves, use a fin comb on bent aluminum fins of an evaporator coil (do it gradually and carefully or risk damaging it!), and straighten bent aluminum fins slowly with care – moving too quickly could damage it!

Cleaning products such as no-rinse cleaner are available at most hardware stores for ease of use, while to access the coils you may have to unscrew a panel from your indoor air handler – usually secured with screws, knobs or even tabs – in order to access them.

Clean the Ducts

Air ducts tend to accumulate large deposits of dirt over time. When these contaminants are circulated throughout a home, they can make residents sick while decreasing air quality significantly.

Air duct cleaning involves using agitation devices to loosen deposits that have collected in your duct system and collect them using vacuums before being washed away with cleaning agents.

Dirty ductwork can create uneven heating and cooling in the home as well as dust particles that recirculate throughout the building and settle on bedding, furniture and floors. Cleaning out the ducts prevents these pollutants from entering and allows them to be easily cleaned out afterwards.

Plan ahead when hiring duct cleaners by clearing a path to their equipment and making sure there are no pets or children present in the rooms they will be working in – as their noise could make the experience unwelcome for residents! They may need to visit every room of the home.