How to take care of your central air conditioner?
When the weather is pleasantly chill, your air conditioner is probably the least of your worries. Months can go by quite fast, though. Before you know it, sunnier days are here, and you find yourself in desperate need of relief from the heat.
Air conditioners provide you with much-needed comfort during the summer. In some cases, the cooling they provide is life-saving when the heat is relentless and blistering. It’s important to make sure that your AC is maintained and ready to take on the hotter months with you.
Maintenance is important when it comes to any appliance, but especially air conditioners. These machines need to operate for long periods and have a lot of parts that need maintenance. For central air conditioners, which are the most common types of air conditioners, the inside and outside units have to work together and both function well for the whole cooling system to work.
Don’t let your air conditioning system fall into neglect during colder months. It’s important to conduct regular air conditioner maintenance to ensure that it functions well and for a long time.
Why you should maintain your AC
Regular maintenance is necessary for an air conditioner to perform at its best condition. It may be tempting to put off cleaning filters and calling technicians, but doing so may end up costing you in the long run. Here’s why you should make sure your air conditioner is always maintained:
To improve the cooling function
The main function of an air conditioner is to provide cool air for your home. As you keep using your AC, several factors can lead to some loss of cooling ability.
Regular maintenance can make sure that your air conditioning unit is free of dirt and all kinds of problems are addressed. After a maintenance session, you will notice that your AC is cooling your home much better and more efficiently than before.
To improve air quality
Maintenance is especially important if you live in a humid area or if you or your family members have respiratory problems. Your air conditioner removes not only pollutants but also excess humidity from the air.
Thanks to your air conditioning unit, you can breathe easier and prevent mold from growing in your home due to excess moisture. If your air conditioner is clogged, dirty, and experiencing problems, it won’t be able to do these things, which can lead to complications.
Additionally, if you don’t clean your AC regularly, the dirt and mold spores the unit is supposed to be filtering out of the air can accumulate inside it and circulate back into your home.
To save money
If your AC is in a bad condition, it will work harder to keep your home cool. Hard work means more energy spent, and more energy means higher utility bills. Save on electricity by making sure that your AC is working well without straining itself due to dirt or other issues.
Maintenance can also save you money on repairs. It’s better to catch smaller issues now before they become too costly.
To keep yourself and your home safe
Air conditioners require a lot of energy to operate. Thus, they can be prone to electric or motor issues that can be a safety hazard if left unchecked.
To make your AC last longer
Ideally, you want your air conditioner to last a long time. The average lifespan of an AC is 15-20 years. You can make your air conditioner last longer by taking care of it regularly. This way, you can have a reliable cooling unit every summer for many years.
How to maintain your AC
Some air conditioner maintenance procedures are simple and can be done by yourself. You can also take a crack at doing more intermediate cleaning. However, there are some things that only licensed technicians should do. No matter how you choose to approach it, here’s how to maintain a central air conditioner:
Outdoor unit maintenance
Before you begin any kind of maintenance work, you first need to switch off your AC and its power source.
Go to the outside unit and remove the fan cage right by the compressor. You can remove the cage using a screwdriver.
Clean the inside of the unit manually or by using a vacuum. Make sure to remove any large debris that may be inside.
Remove the covers of the unit and clean the coil fins using a vacuum cleaner. Afterward, straighten any fins that have become crooked or misaligned. You can use a fin comb for this.
You can also use a dinner knife or any appropriate utensil. Do not use too much force when straightening the fins, or you may end up further damaging them.
Then, you can wash the fan blades and fins. Use your garden hose to make sure that the parts are clear of any clumps of dirt and other debris. You can also use a foaming cleaner here, which you can buy from any hardware store.
After all the components are clean and dry, reassemble the parts of your outside unit.
Finally, clean the surroundings of your outside unit. Trim plants around the area and leave a clearance of at least 2 feet. This is to make sure they’re not blocking airflow or shedding leaves and other debris into the unit.
Indoor unit maintenance
Clean or replace the air filter. Depending on the model of your air conditioner, your filter may either be reusable or disposable. Regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter can drastically improve your AC’s efficiency and performance.
For central air conditioners, the filter is most likely located at the filter enclosure near the return duct. Open the enclosure, remove the old filter, and replace it with a new one. If it’s a reusable filter, clean it carefully before returning it to the enclosure.
Next, you need to open the blower compartment and vacuum out any dust or debris.
Remove the plastic condensation tube and check for any algae or mold growth. If you find any, you can make a solution of 1 part bleach to 16 parts water and run the liquid through the tube. Wash clean and dry thoroughly.
Afterward, clean the drain tube. You can use a pipe cleaner here. If you find mold and algae, you can use a wet and dry vacuum to clear out the drain tube.
After you have cleaned the tubes, put them back into their respective places and close the unit. You can now turn on the power source and the air conditioner.
Preparing for colder seasons
The changing seasons can expose your air conditioner to a lot of problems, including falling leaves and accumulating snow. You need to take steps to protect the outside unit and have it ready for the next cooling season.
Place a sheet of plywood on top of the outside unit. Use some bricks or rocks to weigh it down. This plywood will protect from falling debris and snow.
You can also purchase breathable covers made especially for air conditioners.
If you don’t have the time to deep clean your air conditioning unit, you can always call a professional technician to do your maintenance for you.
Aside from cleaning your unit, they can also check your unit for several issues including possible refrigerant leaks, electrical issues, motor issues, drainage issues and general wear and tear of the unit’s internal components, among others. They can also inspect electric terminals, oil motors and belts, thermostat accuracy, and more.
Licensed HVAC professionals can do so much to diagnose and address issues before they become bigger problems. You can save more by hiring experts in air conditioning maintenance once a year than waiting until something is damaged and paying more for repairs.
How often should you have your AC maintained?
The frequency of maintenance will always depend on your usage and your location. Being in a hotter, harsher environment will require you to maintain your air conditioner more frequently. The more you use your AC, the more you need to maintain it.
During the summer or when you use the AC continuously, clean or replace your air filter at least every 2 months. During months when you’re not regularly using your AC, you only need to replace the filter once.
For your external unit, you can clean it once a year, preferably around spring. If you live in a desert area or in the middle of the city, however, you may need to clean your AC more.
For general maintenance, you can have a licensed technician come once a year to check on your ac and do some tune-ups and cleaning if needed.
Mac 5 Expert Home Services
Getting your AC ready for the summer? Call our professional technicians for a maintenance session! They can do in-depth cleaning and inspection to make sure that your air conditioner is in its best condition.
We do not just do AC maintenance, but also repairs and installation. Our team of experts is available 24/7 for all your air conditioning needs.
You can rest assured that our licensed technicians will provide you with excellent service for a price you can trust.
Call us now at (321) 244-7500.
You can also book an appointment online, and we will contact you as soon as we can.