Simple Ways to Keep Your Air Conditioner in Good Working Order

Your heat pump or HVAC device will last longer with regular cleaning and maintenance, which will also cost you less money.

Maintaining your air conditioner will help you avoid expensive early replacement by extending its lifespan in addition to saving money on energy costs. According to Dr. Sarah D. Kirby, state program leader for Family & Consumer Sciences and professor at North Carolina State University, maintaining your air conditioning unit is crucial for energy efficiency, comfort, for the general health of occupants, and for overall unit function.

An air conditioner that is operating properly removes excess moisture from the air, according to Dr. Kirby, who is also the associate director of the NC State Extension, keeping residents comfortable. According to her, mold growth is a result of dirty air conditioners or malfunctioning systems and can aggravate allergies and asthma.

Utilizing these suggestions is most effective right before the start of each cooling season.

Your HVAC system will either have a furnace and air conditioner or a heat pump that does both heating and cooling. Both varieties will feature an outside unit as well as an inside unit (evaporator and blower) (condenser coil and compressor). These guidelines are applicable to a heat pump or air conditioner for the entire house.

Disconnect the power

It’s crucial to totally shut off power to the air conditioner because to the risks associated with operating near electrical and moving parts of the appliance.

Look for an exterior shut-off box on the exterior condenser/compressor close to the unit.

Additionally, shut off the electricity at the breaker box inside.

Clear the debris

Remove the fan cage from the condenser/compressor outside. Lift the cage or fan grill away from the top of the device by removing the bolts with a screwdriver or wrench. Clean the interior of the vehicle of leaves and other dirt by hand or using a wet/dry vacuum.

Tidy up the fins

To get rid of any outside debris, remove the outer covers and use the brush attachment on a strong shop vacuum. Then, spray through the fins with a mild stream from a garden hose to eliminate any accumulated dirt or debris from in between them.

Avoid using a pressure washer since the force can harm the fins.

Use a fin cleaning spray that is commercially available and sold at home improvement stores if the fins are very dirty. Follow the manufacturer’s directions by reading them.

Clean the area and align the fins.

Use a butter knife or a fin-straightening tool that is readily available in the marketplace to gently straighten bent fins because any loss in airflow through the fins can lower efficiency.

Be gentle to avoid damaging the tubing that is encased within the fins.

tidy vicinity around the unit

After cleaning is complete, replace the fan cage.To maintain proper airflow around the unit, rake back leaves and trash from around the condenser and trim back branches and plants at least two feet in all directions.In order to prevent trash from falling into the condenser during the winter months when the unit is not in use, it is a good idea to cover the top with a piece of plywood or plastic.

Don’t totally enclose the sides of the appliance though, as corrosion can result from moisture accumulation inside.Additionally, a unit that is totally covered makes it easier for pests to nest there.Remove any coverings before using the gadget.

Raise the Unit

As the soil beneath the condenser unit settles over time, the pad on which it is installed may start to tip. The compressor within a condenser unit may fail before its time if it is out of level.

Use rot-resistant shims to level the condenser after making sure it is level.In order to allow for thaw run-off during the winter, Service Experts’ Moody continues, “If you have a heat pump system, it’s appropriate for the pad to be slightly sloped away from the home’s foundation.”

Make the evaporator coil clean

It’s time to go inside now. Find the evaporator coil door on the blower/furnace inside.

You might need to pull out a few screws or bolts in addition to removing some foil duct tape.

Inside, dust the coil with a soft brush before spraying it with a no-rinse coil cleaning that is readily available (available at home improvement stores).

The spray will produce some froth before dripping into the drain pan.With soap, hot water, and a little bleach, clean out the drain pan.Next, flush the drain with a cup containing 50 percent bleach and 50 percent water.Place a commercially available drain pan tablet in the pan to keep the drain clear for a longer period of time.This will prevent further growth of algae.

Skip the next step if the bleach solution drains readily.Alternatively, proceed to cleaning the evaporator drain.If required, replace the evaporator coil door and reseal it with foil duct tape.

Evaporator drain cleaning

The interior of your home’s evaporator coil receives warm, humid air that is fanned through it.

Before the air is returned to your home, the cold coil removes heat from it and cools it.

The moisture in the air condenses as liquid water on the cool evaporator coil surface and drips into a pan below.The water exits the pan through a drain tube and is usually directed outside, into a utility sink, or into a floor drain in the basement.

If the drain is either not flowing or flowing extremely slowly, it needs to be unplugged because over time, algae and mold can accumulate and perhaps stop the drain.If the system has a drain float, a clogged drain can either cause damage by flooding onto the floor or by causing the system to stop cooling to prevent flooding.

Find the drain line at the evaporator coil enclosure’s exit first.Typically, the drain is a 1-inch PVC pipe (white, gray or black).It drains at the end, so follow it there.The pipe frequently empties into the ground next to the condenser unit, but it can also go into a utility sink, a floor drain in the basement, or, in the case of attic units, down an outside wall.

Once found, clean the drain with a wet/dry vacuum.To avoid damaging the paper filter, it is advisable to remove it from the wet/dry vacuum.Hold the wet/dry vacuum’s hose against the drain line’s end.You can hold a towel around the gap or use duct tape.Vacuum for two to three minutes before turning it off.This will remove any accumulating biological stuff from the drain.

Switch out the blower filter

Twice a year at least, right before the beginning of the heating season and just before

at the start of the cooling season, you should change the filter in your HVAC system.You might want to change it more frequently if you live in a region that gets a lot of dust.Always swap out the old filter for a fresh one with the same airflow rating.”HEPA or “air purifying” filters should be used with caution because they can significantly limit airflow in your system, warns Moody.Due to the diminished airflow, this could result in the indoor coil freezing.”

Where the sizable fresh air return duct enters the inside furnace/AC, look for the filter enclosure.

To turn the lock and open the entrance to the filter enclosure, you might require a screwdriver.

Install the new filter after removing the old one, making sure to line up the arrows on the filter with those on the device.Lock the door after closing it.

Restart the electricity

Even while following these instructions will help keep your AC system in great shape, some maintenance tasks can only be carried out by a qualified HVAC professional.As an illustration, a slow refrigerant leak in your air conditioning system might result in costly compressor failure, but a homeowner lacks the instruments or expertise required to check the refrigerant levels.

A well-functioning system also requires clean ducts and adequate ventilation, but householders lack the tools required for the task.The final word?A knowledgeable homeowner can perform some AC maintenance, but a professional technician should still check the system on a regular basis.Both a service in the spring before the cooling season and one again in the fall before the heating season are recommended by Dr. Kirby.