Air Conditioning Maintenance
Your air conditioner requires regular maintenance for it to stay efficient and effective throughout it’s life. If you fail to have it maintenanced regularly, you’ll find that your unit will continue to develop problems until the unit eventually requires replacement. The main parts of your air conditioning unit that need to be maintenanced are the filters, coils, and fins.
Arguably, the most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your AC unit is to routinely replace or clean the filters. Clogged and dirty filters block airflow and significantly reduce a system’s efficiency. With normal airflow obstructed, air that passes through the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room. Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system’s filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.
Your air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coil collect dirt over the life of their service. A clean filter helps to prevent the evaporator coil from being easily dirtied. But as time passes, the evaporator coil will inevitably collect dirt. Dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary. Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a “fin comb” that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition. You should also pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels occasionally. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity. Excess moisture can discolor walls or carpet.
At the beginning of the cooling season, inspect the seal between the AC unit and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit’s metal case. If this seal is damaged, cool air will escape from your house. In the winter, either cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.