Keeping your air conditioner well maintained is not just important for ensuring you have a nice cool home when the weather heats up. It can also ensure your AC is running at maximum efficiency and can help to prolong the life of the unit, meaning a long time before you have to face the costly project of replacing your air conditioner. By following these tips you can easily perform general maintenance on your air conditioning, and keep it running smoothly for much longer.
Turn it Off
Due to the fact that your AC has a whole lot of moving parts, it is crucial you turn off the power to the unit. Near the condenser or compressor on the unit, there should be an exterior shut off box or switch, make sure to turn that off. Inside your home, though, you will also need to turn off the power supply to the unit at the breaker box.
Clean up Debris
Using a screwdriver (or a wrench, depending on the unit you have) take off the fasteners holding the cage or fan grill secure. Then lift off the cage, or flip it open if it doesn’t come off entirely, and clean out the debris from inside the unit. This can be done either by hand or with a vacuum that has wet/dry capabilities.
Clean the Fins
Using a regular garden hose on a steam or mist setting, with the cage/fan grill still off, spray the fins from the inside out to clean all the dirt that might have accumulated on there over time. It is strongly recommended to never use a pressure washer on this step because the fins on the unit are quite thin and a pressure washer might cause damage to them. If there is dirt that you cannot remove you can purchase a fin cleaning spray from your local home improvement store to help remove the rest of it.
Straighten it Out
If any of the fins on the unit have been bent then the efficiency of the AC can be greatly reduced. To ensure your unit is running at maximum efficiency you should straighten out any bent fins using a butter knife. Make sure to be very gentle as there is tubing within the fins and you don’t want to damage that part of the fin.
Clean up the Area
Make sure, once you’ve cleaned inside the unit, that you also clean around it. This includes clearing away leaves and fallen branches, and cutting back any bushes or small trees that might be within two feet of the unit. This ensures proper air flow around your AC.
Change the Air Filter
The filter in your furnace should be changed, a minimum of twice a year – more if you have pets that may cause the filter to clog early. This should be done once before the winter and once before the AC is turned on for the first time. Make sure that when you change the filter you purchase a new filter with the exact same airflow rating to keep consistency in your home.
Turn the Power Back On
Since you turned it off in step one to make sure that it is safe to clear the air conditioner then it’s important to turn it back on to ensure it’s working. By following these steps your AC will remain in top shape and ready for use when those warm summer days hit, and you’ll prolong the life of your unit meaning more money saved since you won’t need to spend on a new one.
Not entirely confident on completing this task yourself? You should consider contacting a service professional, especially if your air conditioner is in need of any sort of maintenance.