Air conditioner maintenance is a topic that many homeowners don't think about until it's too late. Neglecting maintenance can lead to reduced efficiency and increased energy bills, and even a complete breakdown in the middle of summer. Here are four tips that can help keep your air conditioner running like new for years to come.
Replace the Furnace Filter
In traditional split-system central air conditioner, your furnace filter will clean the air that comes from both your air conditioner and your furnace. Depending on the type of furnace filter you have, you should clean it or replace it at least once a month. Clogged furnace filters reduce air conditioner efficiency by forcing your system to work harder to deliver air throughout your home. Additionally, clogged filters cause degraded indoor air quality that can lead to increased allergy flare-ups and respiratory problems.
Clean the Evaporator Coils
The evaporator coils are one of the most important parts of your air conditioning system, as they are directly responsible for cooling the air that is blown into your home by the air handler. If these coils become corroded or coated in dust, this will inhibit heat transfer from the air to the coils and prevent your air conditioner from producing cool air.
You can clean your evaporator coils by turning off your HVAC system and removing the furnace access panel. The evaporator coils are thin blades, usually made from copper or aluminum, that are located directly above the furnace, with a drain pan beneath them. First, spray the coils with a commercial foaming coil cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit on the coils for the amount of time specified on the can, and then use a stiff bristle brush to scrub corrosion and dirt off of the coils.
Promote Good Airflow
If you notice that there is less air coming from your vents than usual, there may be a problem with the outdoor condenser. Dirt buildup and weed growth around your condenser can limit the amount of air that is able to reach your HVAC system's blower motor, reducing your system's efficiency and shortening its lifespan.
Trimming weeds away from your condenser and cleaning the coils regularly is the best way to prevent this problem. You can use coil cleaner and a specialized tool called a fin comb to remove dirt that is clinging to the condenser coils. Slowly run the teeth of the fin comb between the coils to dislodge dirt, taking care not to bend the aluminum fins.
Unclog the Condensate Drain Line
When condensation drips off of the evaporator coils into the drain pan, it is routed out of your home through the condensate drain line. The drain line is a PVC pipe that runs from the drain pan and usually emerges through your home's foundation near the outdoor condenser. As dirt, mold, and mildew build up inside the drain line, it can become clogged, and water can begin pouring over the sides of the drain pan.
To unclog the drain line, find the outside end of the line and attach a wet/dry vacuum hose to the pipe. Running the vacuum for a few seconds is usually enough to force the clog out of the drain line. To prevent this problem in the future, you can pour bleach or white vinegar into the drain line access hole above the furnace every few months.
HVAC maintenance is an easy task that virtually any homeowner can accomplish if they know the right steps. Use these maintenance steps regularly to maximize the life of your air conditioner and avoid unexpected air conditioner breakdowns. For more information, contact a company like Nova Air Conditioning & Heating.