Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Pro-Handy Editorial Team
Air conditioner upkeep is not merely a household chore but a fundamental component of owning a cooling system. Routine care of your air conditioner guarantees an extension in its life span and an increase in energy efficiency and cooling performance.
Importance of Filters, Coils, and Fins in Air Conditioner Function
Air conditioner components such as filters, coils, and fins necessitate regular care to allow the air conditioning system to operate effectively and efficiently through years of service. Ignoring required maintenance might lead to a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use gradually rises.
Air Conditioner Filters
The most vital maintenance task that guarantees your air conditioner’s efficiency is consistently cleaning or replacing its filters. Obstructed or filthy filters decrease airflow, significantly affecting the system’s efficiency. When airflow is impeded, air may sidestep the filter and deposit dirt directly onto the evaporator coil, impacting the coil’s heat-absorbing ability. Switching a clogged filter with a clean one could reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
For centralized air conditioners, filters are usually located along the return duct’s length. Standard filter locations include walls, ceilings, or within the air conditioner. Room air conditioners, however, have a filter installed in the grill facing the room. Some filters are reusable, while others must be replaced. They are available in various types and efficiencies. It would help to clean or change your air conditioning system’s filter every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may require more frequent care if the air conditioner is in continuous use, exposed to dusty environments, or if you have pets that shed.
Air Conditioner Coils
The evaporator and condenser coils of the air conditioner accumulate dirt over their service lifespan. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from becoming dirty rapidly. Nevertheless, the evaporator coil will collect dirt over time. This dirt accumulation decreases airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its heat absorption capacity. Inspect your evaporator coil annually and clean it as necessary to prevent this issue.
Outdoor condenser coils can become significantly dirty if the surrounding environment is dusty or has nearby foliage. You can quickly inspect the condenser coil to determine if dirt accumulates on its fins. It would help if you minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all possible sources of dirt and debris. Keep the area around the coil clean, remove debris, and trim back foliage at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) to provide adequate airflow around the condenser.
The aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils can quickly become bent, obstructing the airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers offer a tool called a “fin comb,” which can restore these fins to nearly original condition.
Further Maintenance Tasks and Professional Services
You should occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels. Clogged drain channels can prevent a unit from reducing humidity, resulting in potential discoloration of walls or carpets due to excess moisture.
Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners
At the start of each cooling season, check the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it contacts the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, causing cool air to escape your house.
Preparing for Winter
During the winter, it’s best to cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Shielding the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner can protect it from winter weather and debris.
Hiring a Professional
Should your air conditioner need more than regular maintenance, like failing to reduce indoor temperature to a comfortable level, engage a professional service technician? An expert technician can identify and resolve issues in your air conditioning system.
Expert Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Home Cool
At Pro-Handy, we understand the importance of maintaining your air conditioning system to keep your home cool and comfortable throughout the summer months. Regular air conditioner maintenance offers numerous benefits, including improved performance, extended lifespan, enhanced indoor air quality, and increased energy efficiency. This comprehensive guide presents you with six actionable tips to help you keep your home cool and outrank other websites in search engine results.
Inspect and Replace Your Filters Regularly
One of the most critical aspects of air conditioner maintenance is regularly cleaning or replacing your HVAC air filters. Clean filters are crucial in indoor air quality, particularly for ducted systems. When dirty filters impede the airflow cycle, the quality of the recycled air indoors is compromised.
Blocked filters reduce airflow and cause your system to work harder, ultimately decreasing its efficiency and lifespan. To clean or replace your air conditioner filters, follow these steps:
- Turn off your HVAC unit.
- Locate and open the service panel to access the filter.
- If you have permanent filters, clean them using running water, such as a garden hose or sink.
- Allow the filter to air dry completely before reinserting it.
- For disposable filters, discard and replace the old filter with a new one.
- Check and Clean the Condensate Drain Regularly
A clogged condensate drain indicates that your air conditioning unit requires servicing. The condensate drain expels the condensation produced during the refrigeration cycle. It is connected to a drain tray or pan in the indoor unit, leading to a collection point outdoors. Blockages can occur when slime, mold, algae, or even insulation debris accumulates in the HVAC drain line.
Inspect the condensate tray under the indoor evaporator coil to check for drain blockage. If you notice water collecting in the tray, it may indicate a clog somewhere in the line. Additionally, you might observe water pooling when you remove the air filters.
To clear blockages and restore normal functioning to the HVAC drain, access the end of the condensate drain where it leads into a gutter, drain, downpipe, or garden. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any debris obstructing the drain. If water leakage persists despite these efforts, it is advisable to seek professional assistance to address any underlying problems.
Regularly Clean Your Indoor Unit
The indoor components of your HVAC system, particularly the coil and fan barrel, can accumulate layers of dirt, grime, dust, and even mold over time. Due to restricted airflow, this buildup can lead to unpleasant odors and reduced system performance. Implementing a routine cleaning schedule for your indoor unit is crucial for optimal air conditioner maintenance.
To clean your indoor unit effectively, follow these steps:
- Use a cloth, feather duster, or slightly dampened washer to wipe down the unit’s surfaces.
- You may use an antibacterial solution to clean and sanitize the air conditioner if desired.
- Remember not to spray liquid directly onto the unit; instead, spray the cleaning solution onto the cloth before wiping the casing.
It is important to note that chemical cleaning of the indoor HVAC unit, which involves disassembly, should be left to qualified and experienced HVAC technicians. At [Your Company Name], our professionals are trained to perform maintenance tasks during your annual check-up.
Clear and Clean the Outdoor Unit
The efficiency of your air conditioning system can be significantly affected by any obstructions surrounding the outdoor unit, known as the condenser or compressor. Storage boxes, garden equipment, or bins can restrict airflow, reducing efficiency. Therefore, keeping the area around the outdoor unit clear of debris is essential.
To ensure optimal performance and prevent damage, follow these steps:
- Remove any items or organic matter that may be obstructing the outdoor unit.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe down the unit’s casing and remove accumulated dirt, dust, or grime.
Cleaning the condenser coils is a task best left to professionals, as improper cleaning can damage the delicate coil fins, reducing heat exchange efficiency and potentially affecting internal electrical components.
Regularly Check HVAC Copper Piping Insulation
The insulation surrounding the HVAC copper piping is crucial for maintaining thermal efficiency within your system. Visual inspection of the insulation should be conducted regularly to ensure there are no exposed sections that may compromise the performance of your air conditioner. Insulation prevents energy loss and supports the proper functioning of refrigerant transportation between indoor and outdoor units.
Perform the following steps to check the insulation:
- Visually examine the insulation around the evaporator and suction lines.
- Look for signs of damage caused by harsh weather, pests, rodents, or insects.
- If you notice any sections of exposed insulated AC pipework, it is advisable to contact an HVAC specialist for further assessment and necessary repairs.
- Schedule Annual Tune-Ups with a Licensed HVAC Professional
To ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your air conditioning system, it is crucial to schedule an annual tune-up with a licensed HVAC professional. An AC tune-up involves comprehensive servicing and maintenance, which offer numerous benefits:
- Detection of minor issues before they escalate into significant problems.
- Troubleshooting common maintenance issues include clogged air filters, dirty coils, and blocked condensate drains.
- Lubrication of mechanical parts to minimize friction and optimize performance.
- Refrigerant recharging, if necessary.
- Identification of potential repair needs and necessary actions.
At Pro-Handy, our team of HVAC specialists from One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning is equipped to perform various maintenance tasks during your annual tune-up, ensuring your system operates at its best.
By implementing a preventive maintenance plan and following these expert air conditioner maintenance tips, you can significantly improve the comfort and safety of your home while enjoying cleaner air, extending the lifespan of your system, and saving money on utility bills. Remember, while you can perform some maintenance tasks yourself, enlisting the services of a professional aircon servicing for regular checks, tune-ups, tests, and repairs is highly recommended.