As we move from spring into summer, there is one piece of home repair and maintenance that will ensure that your summer is comfortable and happy. That is maintaining and repairing your air conditioning unit. Without a working air conditioning unit, your summer will be filled with sweaty days and uncomfortable nights. When your AC unit isn’t working, spending time indoors becomes unpleasant for everyone. There are some important steps to maintain your AC unit so you don’t have costly repairs that can make your summer hot and uncomfortable.
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
In order to maintain your air conditioning unit every year, preventative maintenance is important. Most maintenance can be done by a certified HVAC technician. Find a local air conditioning repair technician to do the maintenance on your AC unit. These preventative measures will help limit the number of repairs you need to have done. These services should involve cleaning and inspecting the parts of the unit to ensure they are running properly.
Some maintenance can be done on your own. Here are some things that you can do in your own home to help maintain your air conditioning unit.
Change the Filter
When a filter needs to be replaced or cleaned, the AC unit will start to run inefficiently. This will cause the AC unit to work harder to do simple things. When the AC unit isn’t running efficiently it will increase electrical bills and will wear out the components of the unit faster. A dirty filter can block air flow which could cause the condensation to freeze. Replacing the filter can be done at home, saving yourself costly repairs and AC issues.
Before changing the filter, make sure you turn off the thermostat. Remove the old filter, making sure to check the airflow arrow on the filter’s frame. Purchase a new filter, making sure it fits the dimension. Filters are rated by a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) which denotes how much outside contaminants the filter catches. Try and find a filter rated between five and eight. Place the new filter into the AC unit matching the airflow arrow in the right position. Once the filter is installed, reset the thermostat to its original settings.
Drain Line Maintenance
During general use of the air conditioner, the humidity inside the AC unit can turn into condensation. The water gathers in the drip pan and enters the drain line. This can create sludge to form in the drainage line. This will block the line, making your unit create a more humid environment. This can cause leaking, mold and mildew, and water damage. The unit will also stop producing cold air.
To drain the line, find the termination usually located near the condensation. Hook up a wet or dry vacuum to the line and blow out the water and sludge. Pour hot water through the line until the water coming out is clear. You can find specific products designed to keep the drain line clear in your AC unit. Don’t ever use chemicals that aren’t designed for the AC unit.
Clean the External Unit
Before cleaning the unit, make sure it is powered off. First, clean off the condenser fins. This is where the majority of the debris will gather on the outside of the unit. You can use a stiff paint brush to dislodge the bigger debris. Then use your vacuum with the brush attachment to clean up the remaining dirt and debris. You will also need to clean the condenser fan by wiping it with a damp cloth.
The outside of the unit can be sprayed with a hose to clean any remaining debris and dirt. Make sure the fan motor is sealed before washing with a hose. You should also keep the area around the unit clear of any brush or plant growth. Remove any leaves or debris from about two feet around the unit.
Clean The Evaporator Coil
When the evaporator coil gets dirty, it can create a buildup of dirt that freezes to the coil. This will block the air from circulating which can cause the unit to malfunction. When dirty coils block the air flow, the heat transfer is halted, causing the air to not be cooled.
To clean the evaporator coils, first turn off the system. When you remove the furnace panels you can access the coils. Drain the line with hot water, like when cleaning the drainage line. Once the line is cleared, use an aerosol cleaner to clean the coils. Make sure to completely cover both sides of the coil. These cleaners will remove the debris and dirt that has built up on the coil. Once you are done you can close the furnace and start the system again.
Keep Your Home Energy Efficient
If you can keep your unit working and maintained, your home will be more energy efficient and much cooler in the summer. If your unit has to overwork to keep your house cool because it is dirty or parts are broken, your house will eat up more energy. By maintaining your current unit you could be saving money each month on energy bills.
Some units, however, just need to be replaced to maximize your energy efficiency. If you are looking at replacing your current unit, check out this website for some of the most energy efficient heating and cooling options. When looking to replace, make sure you find a technician who is knowledgeable and experienced in the unit you wish to install.
To maximize your house’s energy-efficiency, you can also take some steps to seal and insulate your house better. By keeping your house well sealed, you will have less air coming in from the outside. Make sure your windows are all well sealed. Check around the outside for any holes in the seal. It is also helpful to check your ducts for any gaps or holes.
Regular maintenance of your home’s appliances, especially the air conditioner and heaters, can keep your house running efficiently. By ensuring that everything is working properly you can keep your family comfortable and save money on energy bills.
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