Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
After you purchase your air conditioner and have a professional HVAC company install it, you can’t just sit back and forget about it. Air conditioners require cooling maintenance especially on its coils, filters and fins. Otherwise the wear and tear on your system can cause your air conditioner to have cooling issues leading to necessary air conditioner repairs. In this article, we will discuss what you can do yourself to maintain your air conditioner unit as well as what you should leave to a professional, such as a yearly annual air conditioner service. Both are required to properly avoid cooling problems and run effectively for years to come.
DIY Cooling Maintenance
1. Air Conditioner Filters
As previously stated, air conditioners require cooling maintenance. The easiest cooling maintenance you can perform on your air conditioner unit is also the most important; this task is changing your air conditioner filter on a regular basis. Over time and use your air conditioner unit filter will get dirty. Dirt, dust and debris that accumulates in the filter will block the airflow of the system. This in turn will cause your system to function at a lower efficiency. According to Energy.gov, replacing your air conditioners filter on a regular basis can improve efficiency by 5-15%. What a simple and easy way to keep your air conditioner efficient and lower your utility bills! Plus it helps avoid cooling problems.
Now that you know how important it is to change your air conditioner filter, do you know where it is located? Air conditioner filters locations depend on what type of air conditioner unit you have. Typical places air conditioner filters are located include ceilings, walls, inside the air conditioner or inside the furnace. If your air conditioner is a part of a central heating and cooling system going throughout your entire home via ductwork then you will most likely find the filter near the return duct. If you have a mounted AC that can only cool one room, the filter will be found in the unit itself.
There are all types of different air conditioner filters. These filters vary depending on size, efficiency and how long they last. If you are a customer of Miller’s Heating & Air, an AC company in Washington, we have your filter size on file. Feel free to give us a call if you forgot what filter size you have. At our office location we also sell filters and can special order custom sizes as well.
2. Air Conditioner Coils
In order for your air conditioner’s condenser coil and evaporator coil to work correctly, they both need to be clean. Though changing your filters regularly will help prevent these coils from becoming dirty, they can still can collect dirty over time due to use. When a coil is dirty, it is less able to absorb heat and therefore cool your home. Dirty coils can sometimes lead to cooling problems requiring air conditioner repairs.
It is also common for the coils on your outdoor unit to get dirty over time as well. In order to prevent this, remove any debris, leaves, etc. that is around your outdoor unit as a part of your cooling maintenance checklist. You may even want to trim trees that may be overhanging near the outdoor unit. You will thank yourself in the long run as this will lower your chances of cooling issues.
We recommend making sure your AC coils are cleaned at least once a year. A light coil cleaning is often completed during an annual air conditioner service and cooling maintenance of your system performed by a trained professional technician. They will let you know if a deeper cleaning is necessary due to the amount of dirt buildup. Just remember that air conditioner unit is one that has less cooling problems and cooling issues.
3. Coil Fins
Air conditioner unit coil fins are located on both condenser and evaporator coils. They are intended to help with the heat exchange process. However, it is common for these coils to become bent. Once bent, they can actually hinder the heat exchange process by blocking the airflow. Coil fins are checked during a professional air conditioner service. If you notice bent coils, contact an HVAC company so they can replace the coils for you and prevent cooling problems in the future.
4. Condensate Drains
Is your condensate drain plugged up? If so, you can try to breakup the clog by using a wire through the drain to loosen the substance clogging it. Condensate drains that are clogged can cause increased humidity coming from your air conditioning unit. Increased humidity can cause cooling issues in your home. Condensate drains are checked during an annual air conditioner service with a trained professional as well.
5. Preparing for Winter
Did you know that you need to prepare your air conditioner for winter as a part of your cooling maintenance? If it’s a window AC, you can remove it and store it in a safe location until you need it again the following summer. If you have an outdoor air conditioner as a part of a central system in your home, you can cover the air conditioner for winter. This will prevent snow, leaves, and other debris from damaging the unit during the winter. Because air conditioners require maintenance, the best time of year to scheduled your yearly air conditioner service is in the spring before the hot summer weather.
Hiring a Professional for Cooling Maintenance
It is recommended that you have a trained professional from a licensed HVAC company perform an air conditioner service on your system once a year. Not only does this keep your air conditioner running efficiently, but it also keeps whatever warranties you have on the unit active. During your annual air conditioner service, the technician should perform the following actions as well as let you know if any air conditioner repairs are recommended:
- Rinse or vacuum outdoor and indoor coil (when accessible)
- Check disconnect
- Check fuses
- Check refrigerant lines
- Check caps and valve cores
- Check refrigerant pressures
- Check contactor
- Age of contactor
- Check condensate drain
- Check condensate pump
- Check outdoor fan blade
- Check outdoor fan motor
- Motor bearing note
- Check compressor
- Attic installation proper emergency drain
- Check TXV location mounting
- Check condition of coil fins
- Condensing unit is level
Miller’s Heating & Air is a professional expert in cooling. We specialize in air conditioner service and repairs. Air conditioners require cooling maintenance on a regular basis. Do you need an air conditioner service or air conditioner repair due to cooling issues? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 360-524-2280 (Vancouver, WA) or 503-972-2434 (Portland, OR).