December 19, 2014

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

It’s really heating up outside and if you are like me, you want your home to be a respite from the heat. An air conditioner that is properly serviced runs more efficiently providing you with a cooler home for less money. You’ll ensure that you come home each day to a pleasantly cool house and that you will not tax either the unit or your budget. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your cool.

Replace or clean the filter every month

Air conditioners are outfitted with a simple electrostatic filter in the front grill area to filter the air that passes through them. If your unit has a filter you should replace/clean it once a month during the cooling season.

Inspect cooling coils for frost or ice build-up

If the temperature outside the room where the air conditioner is placed becomes cool — approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — check the coils on the front of the air conditioner to be sure they are not icing up. If they are, turn the air conditioner off until the temperature rises. Also, make sure the filter is clean.

Don’t short cycle the cooling system

Air conditioners have a cooling system identical to a refrigerator’s. It’s important not to turn the unit off and then back on right away. Wait at least ten minutes after shutting the unit off to allow pressure in the refrigeration system to equalize once again. This will prolong the life of your air conditioner.

Store the unit in a basement or utility room, not a garage

Mice and other small animals love to nest in air conditioners. Thay can cause serious damage to the unit by chewing on wiring and insulation. Also, wasps and birds like to nest in uncovered units left in windows. Avoid these problems by storing units in a protected area, away from small animals, or by installing a cover on the part of the air conditioner that is outside.

Clean condenser coils annually

Condensing coils on an air conditioner will get very dirty over time. Dirt tends to accumulate on the inside of the coils, out of site. Remove the entire cover of the air conditioner to gain access to the coils. They can be cleaned by blowing compressed air at them or by using a soft bristle brush to wipe the dirt off. Be sure to also clean any dirt or lint build up in the bottom of the air conditioner so condensate water will be picked up by the condensing fan slinger properly.