Owning a home offers so many things: pride in having a place to call your own, a space to relax and raise a family, and hopefully, an investment in property that increases in value with the passage of time. It also comes with a list of things to maintain in order to keep everything functioning properly.
One of the big-ticket items to pay attention to is the air conditioner. To help you care for your AC unit and keep it working efficiently, we’ve compiled a handy checklist.
AC Maintenance Checklist
1. Change the air filters
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air in a space. Once the air is inside the unit, the moisture is absorbed, the air is cooled, and is sent back into the space through the return vents. In addition to drawing in the air, it absorbs all the dust particles, dust mites, soot, and any other allergens that may be floating around. With time, all this debris clogs the filters, decreasing the efficiency of your air conditioner (e.g. it won’t cool as well and your electric bill will go up). To prevent this from happening, replace the filters every 30 to 90 days, depending on your circumstances: If you have pets, allergy sufferers, or smokers in the home, change them once a month. If you live alone and these factors don’t apply to you, you should replace them every three months).
Related article: How To Replace Your Home’s Air Filters
2. Clean the evaporator coils
To do this, shut off the AC, remove the front panel, and use condensed air from a can to spray the coils and remove all dirt and debris from the surface.
Related article: What Are Evaporator Coils?
3. Flush the drain line
Remember when we mentioned above that the AC unit absorbs the moisture from the air? This condensation drips into a part called a drip pan. Once full, the water is drained outside your home through a PVC pipe called the drain line. Because this pipe is an enclosed, wet space, it’s a prime location for mold and mildew to grow. To flush it, first turn off the air conditioner (both at the thermostat and at the breaker panel). Then locate the pipe next to the condenser unit (the big square box outside your home). Remove the cap. Inspect it with a flashlight and take out any blockage you can see. Then slowly pour a cup of either distilled white vinegar, bleach, or peroxide. Wait 30 minutes before replacing the cap and turning on the air conditioner.
Related article: How to Clean an AC Drain Line Using Vinegar in 5 Steps
4. Clean the condenser unit
This is the big box outside your home (or inside a closet, if you live in an apartment). If it’s located outside, trim all bushes and trees around it to prevent leaves and small branches from falling into the vents. To clean the unit, shut off power to the AC (both at the thermostat and breaker panel) to prevent risk of electrocution. Unscrew the metal cover and use a soft bristle brush to take off the dust. If it’s caked with dirt, wash the coils with coil cleaner detergent. Dry, and replace the cover.
Related article: How Does a Condenser Unit Work?
5. Straighten the condenser fins
These are located on the sides of the condenser unit. Environmental factors such as strong winds, rain, or hail can easily cause them to bend, obstructing airflow. To restore them to their original position, use a condenser fin comb.
6. Schedule regular AC maintenance
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is 20 years. To make it last as long as possible (and to ensure energy efficiency and lower energy bills), schedule professional maintenance twice a year. Not only will this ensure a long lifespan, it will provide you with advanced notice of any potential issues, such as a poisonous refrigerant leak.
Related article: AC Issues You May Miss Without Regular Maintenance
Climate Design Can Help You
At Climate Design, we provide AC installation and HVAC services throughout Tampa Bay: Clearwater, Largo, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, St. Pete Beach, Eastlake, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, and New Port Richey.
Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment