Many homeowners don’t believe that routine air conditioning maintenance is necessary. To many, it feels like an extra unnecessary bill. While it’s true you may save money in the short-term by foregoing routine HVAC maintenance, the long-term costs can add up catch you when you’re unprepared. Instead, a little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way. According to the U.S. Department of Energy:
“An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”
There are a number of simple, essential steps you can take to keep your air conditioning unit functioning properly. In this article, we’ll walk you through a few techniques you can use to maintain your system on your own, with no technical knowledge or specialty equipment needed.
Outside Condenser Unit
For the outside unit, be sure to clear any nearby debris before anything else. Debris around the condenser unit can get inside the machinery and potentially cause problems. Once you’ve cleared the debris, proceed to clean the fins of any dirt they may have accumulated. You typically won’t need any specialty equipment to perform this task; all you’ll need is a garden hose with a slightly pressurized stream. Follow these tips from DIY Network for best results when cleaning the fins:
Use a garden hose with a strong stream to “spray through the fins from the inside out to blast any built up dirt or debris from between them. Never use a pressure washer, since the pressure can damage the fins. If the fins are particularly dirty, use a commercially available fin cleaning spray.”
Inside Air Handler Unit
For the inside unit, the most important piece of maintenance you can do is to clean the evaporator coil. Many people overlook this, but it’s an important part of keeping your entire system healthy. Dirt accumulating on the evaporator coil will not only lower your system’s efficiency, but it may also cause the equipment to fail entirely. More importantly, a neglected coil can be a perfect breeding ground for molds and other potential indoor air problems.
To clean this coil, look for the evaporator coil door (you may have to remove some duct tape and remove some screws). Once you’ve exposed the coil, “use a soft brush to dust off the coil, then spray the coil with commercially available no-rinse coil cleaner (available at home improvement stores). The spray will foam up and then drip into the drain pan. Clean out the drain pan with soap, hot water, and a little bleach. Then, pour a cup of 50% bleach/50% water down the drain.” (Source: DIY Network).
Here’s a helpful, short video that covers a lot of key areas to keep in mind as you perform routine maintenance on your air conditioner:
As you can see, maintaining your HVAC unit takes a bit of work, but the payoff is well worth it. You keep your unit running longer and more efficiently, which saves money in the long run. If the above information seems a bit overwhelming, fear not! AirOne offers routine maintenance for homeowners in the Central Texas area at fair and affordable prices. Give us a call today to discuss your HVAC needs–we’d love to hear from you.