Almost 100 million US homes have air conditioning.
Electric cooling does more than bring the temperature down on a stifling summer day.
Air conditioning can also reduce allergies and asthma symptoms. It can lower the number of insects in your home and improve air quality. Air conditioning can even improve your sleep and keep you from losing your temper during the hotter months.
While many of us own air conditioners, we’re not always clear on how to make them last.
What are some tips for good air conditioner maintenance? Let’s take a look.
1. Clean and Replace Your Filter Regularly
The air filter’s job is to clean dust and debris from your HVAC compartment. When your filter gets clogged, dust and debris begin to pollute the AC itself, causing the parts to work harder. Before you know it, the whole air conditioner will break down and you will find yourself at the appliance store.
A clogged filter will also prevent your system from pumping clean air into your home properly.
You should aim to clean your filter at least once a month, especially if you are using it regularly. First, you will need to find it.
Your filter could be located in the front of the furnace near the bottom. There may be a metal panel marked “filter” on the front of the panel, or you may be able to access it without opening anything.
If you have a large system, the filters may be located in the return air duct. Finding these can get challenging. In these cases, it may be best to enlist the help of a professional, such as this AC repair company.
Before changing your filter, you will need to turn off your AC’s power. Next, remove the old filter and check its condition.
If you are using a disposable filter, you can throw it out and replace it with a new one. An arrow on the filter’s frame will show you the way the air should flow. Disposable filters have a cardboard frame and a paper or mesh surface.
A permanent filter is made of a more sturdy, metal frame with a special coating. These will need to get rinsed and dried before getting replaced.
2. Clean The Coils
Coils are what help move the hot and cold air through your system, so it is important that they do not get clogged with dust.
If you have a portable window unit, you will need to get to open the unit to get to the coils. Brush away any dirt with a soft brush or cloth. You can also use a little mild detergent or dish soap mixed with warm water in a spray bottle.
If you have a central air conditioning unit, you can clean any dirt or debris off the external condenser before calling a professional to inspect the rest of the parts.
3. Clean The Fins
Air conditioner fins are the thin metal slats that run along the outline of your AC unit. They move warm air away from your air conditioner while it’s running. Debris from the outdoors can keep them from running properly.
Evaporator fins are located inside your air conditioner. They form an “A” shape. These fins are responsible for cooling the air outside and sending it through ducts to clean your home.
You should never use harsh cleaners on your air conditioner fins. Instead, an air conditioner fin comb should be used to gently clean the air conditioner fins. The comb is a small tool with special bristles designed for this task.
4. Check Out Your Thermostat
Your AC thermostat should work well so that you can enjoy the best temperatures. Upgrading to a programmable one will help you to control the temperatures around your house and have the best environment.
If your AC does not seem to be working properly, the problem may simply be your thermostat. Check the switches on your air conditioning thermostat to make sure that they are in the “on” position. You may need to change the batteries.
5. Inspect Your Condensing Unit
You should inspect the fan attached to your air conditioning condenser regularly. If the fan blades display any cracks or chips, they should get replaced immediately. You may need to oil the fan motor often on an older model.
The first step in oiling is to turn off the power and breaker. Next, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oiling. Be sure not to use an oil that has detergent.
You will need to remove the cover of the compressor unit with a screwdriver. If you have a fan cage, you can simply remove them by turning them.
Turn the cover upside down to access the oil ports on the motor. They are located on the top or bottom of the motor.
Remove the plug covering each oil port with your finger or a flathead screwdriver. Squirt a small amount of oil into each port, and then wipe it up with a rag.
Finally, reinstall the plugs into the ports. Spin the fan blade slowly by hand to disperse the oil. You can then reposition the unit cover and turn the power back on.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
Most homeowners do not give much thought to air conditioner maintenance unless something goes wrong. Regular inspections, cleanings, and oilings, however, can keep your unit running smoothly and extend its life by years.
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