Air conditioning is one of the most common home energy systems in the United States. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), around 87% of American houses have air conditioning.
Air conditioning systems continue to improve with each new model, yet they still require proper maintenance and care. While significant issues require professional help, there are many actions you can take to service and maintain your air conditioner at home.
Here are the top six ways you can keep your air conditioner in top shape by yourself.
Due to the dangers of working around moving parts, it’s imperative that you completely shut off the unit’s power before undergoing any maintenance task. Locate the exterior shut-off box on the exterior condenser or compressor. Remember to turn off the power at the breaker box as well.
After you’ve shut off the power, check the condition of the outside unit. The condenser unit sends fresh air into your house while disposing of stale air from the inside. To make sure the outside unit is clean, you’ll need tools such as wrenches and screwdrivers. Use these tools to open the fan cage. Then, remove the frill and inspect the outside unit for any dirt or debris. If you find any leaves or dust, simply remove them with a vacuum cleaner.
For this process, you will need the same tools — screwdrivers and wrenches. Once you access the coil, sweep it clean using a soft brush. Next, spray the coil with industrial no-rinse coil cleaner. To clean the drain pan and pipe, create a DIY cleaner by mixing 50% bleach and 50% water in a cup. Pour the solution down the drain of your air conditioner.
Changing the air filter is one of the most straightforward AC maintenance tasks you can do at home. Locate the filter slot/door on your indoor HVAC system, then simply remove the old filter and replace it with a new one — it’s recommended to change the filter at least twice a year.
Carefully straighten any bent fins using a fin-straightening tool or butter knife. It’s essential to perform this task as gently as possible to avoid compromising the tubing within the fins.
To clean the fins, remove the outer covers and use the brush attachment on a shop vacuum to remove all outside debris. Next, spray through the fins from the inside out using a gentle stream from a hose. Although it may be tempting to use a pressure washer, the power could damage the fins.
Regular maintenance of your AC unit can save you hundreds of dollars and reduce the chance of an unexpected breakdown. Yet there are certain needs that only a professional technician will be able to service. Proper airflow and clean ducts are essential to a well-functioning air conditioning system, but as a homeowner, you may not have the necessary equipment. Or a slow refrigerant leak in your AC system can lead to compressor failure — an issue that requires professional help.
At Shipley Energy, we are committed to helping protect your family from possible AC unit mishaps. If you would like a professional technician to take a look at your air conditioning system, Shipley Energy is here to help. Contact us today to request air conditioning service.