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What maintenance can I perform myself on my air conditioner?

The HVAC unit in your home is a vital piece of equipment that you depend upon throughout the year to stay warm or cool.  Without proper AC maintenance, your HVAC system can encounter problems.  Here are some steps you can take as a homeowner to ensure your AC unit functions properly.

Outdoor AC Maintenance

Start the self-maintenance process by cleaning your outdoor condensing unit. Vegetation overgrowth takes off when Spring comes around. During the Winter months, wind can blow debris into and on the unit.

Clear all vegetation and debris away from the condensing unit to prepare  for a thorough cleaning. You may find that the fins on the condensing unit are clogged with dirt and dust.

Clear the debris by spraying with a gentle stream from your hose into the fins. Do not use high pressure as this can damage the fins. If the buildup is is more than you expected, you can use a commercial coil cleaner to loosen the debris stuck in the fins.

Indoor AC Maintenance

Keeping the indoor air handling unit in working condition is also vital to the efficiency of your HVAC system. The primary intake of air occurs here as it travels through the air blower and past the evaporator coils. That means that many different kinds of air particulates make their way through the system every day.

Thermostat Check – Blower Fan

Regularly check the thermostat for proper function. If the unit uses batteries, replace them on a consistent basis. Turn on the fan switch to ensure that the blower fan is operating properly.

If the blower fan seems to be struggling to pull air in then perform the following checks:

  • Check the circuit breakers/fuse for the unit – reset as necessary
  • With the blower turned off, check the fan belt. Tighten or replace as necessary.
  • Oil the blower fan motor – most of these type of motors have a clearly marked small oil hole on one end

Evaporator Coil

If at all possible clean the evaporator coils. They are located in the plenum above the air handling unit. Some installs have a small access port. However, do not be alarmed if the unit is sealed. In that case, contact an HVAC professional so that the plenum can be opened and resealed properly.

Evaporator coils can become clogged with all kinds of dust, dirt, and other particulates that cross over them with time. It is important that they are thoroughly cleaned to keep your system working in the most efficient manner possible.

Condensate Drain

Beneath the evaporator coils is a condensate pan with a drain. Inspect the drain to ensure that it is not clogged. If it is clogged with debris, pull the material free of the drain. A drain pan full of water can draw mold and mildew that will ultimately travel through your air ducts.

Air Filter

Your system air filter is by far one of the most critical elements of your HVAC system and the easiest to keep maintained. But you may be surprised by how many people will neglect this easy AC maintenance step.

Replace the air filter on a monthly basis and never let it go more than three months. A restricted air flow will create unnecessary strain in your HVAC system.

For more information about AC maintenance, find your local ClimateCare member today!

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