Forgetting to Maintain Your Air Conditioner – Not Cool!

Most appliances require attention every now and then to continue running at peak efficiency, and air conditioning units are no exception. Neglecting maintenance will lead to poor performance and a shortened unit life. With the warmest weather of the year just around the corner, here are a few things you can do to help keep your A/C performing at its best.

Outside

While doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget to clean around your outdoor A/C unit. Before starting this though, remember to shut off power to the unit and follow the manufacturer guidelines.

  • Clear leaves and other debris that have blown up against the unit.
  • Clean the condenser. Remove the grate over the fan and vacuum any dirt and debris found inside. Using a garden hose, spray the fins from the inside out (do not use anything high pressured to avoid bending the fins).
  • If there are any bent fins, use a butter knife or fin tool to straighten them.
  • Prune nearby branches or bushes.

Inside

  • Change the filter. The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your energy consumption by as much as 15% [1]. Some filters are reusable, while others are disposable. It’s a good idea to check your filters monthly to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Clean the evaporator coils which are usually located above the blower motor and often sealed with foil tape. Use a soft bristled brush to dust off the coil and spray the coil with a coil cleaner product.
  • Clean the evaporator drain. This is usually a PVC pipe below the coil. Block one end with duct tape or a rag and use a wet/dry vacuum on the other end to clear any blockage.

Remember, when completing these tasks to consult your owner’s manual and look at any manufacturer specific maintenance requirements prior to starting. If you’re not comfortable completing any of the tasks, or something doesn’t seem quite right as you’re carrying out the maintenance, consult with your local professionals.

For easy and safe installation tips for a window or thru-wall air conditioning unit, read “Air Conditioner Tips to Stay Cool and Reduce Costs.”

[1] Energy.gov “Maintaining Your Air Conditioner.”

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