Being able to maintain your air conditioner system yourself can save you a lot of money in the long run.You’ll be able to minimize how often you need to call a professional to replace full parts of the system if you’re regularly checking on the basics yourself. You’ll also be able to save on having someone else come and do some of the more simple tasks you can learn to do yourself.
The number one issue that air conditioning has that will reduce its efficiency and could lead to it breaking is dirty filters. Air conditioners have filters as a part of the airflow system that removes any dust or debris from the air. This, in turn, increases the quality of the air being pumped around your house. As the air is filtered, the filters will slowly gather dust, and if left unchanged, less air will be able to get through them over time.
This will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning in general as less air can flow through the ducts. In turn, you’ll be spending more in power to keep the same amount of air cooled. To keep the efficiency of your air conditioner at its best, it’s recommended that you check and change them at least every six months.
To start with, check them every couple of months to get a feel for how long your particular filters need before they need changing or cleaning.
Start by locating the filters, which are usually found around the registers at the ceiling of each where the cool air is delivered. Before you do anything, make sure that the power has been turned off and that you avoid any of the electrics. Unlatch the cover of the register and open the door.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see the filter, which can be removed and thrown away if they are disposable. Take this opportunity to clean the grille before you install a new filter. With this done, take your new filter and install, making sure to follow the specific instructions for your filter.
You can get filters for most systems from aclube or a similar supplier. There will often be arrows to show you which way to place it. Once you’ve inserted the new filter, you can attach the grille back on to the register. A great tip is to add the date you replaced the filter directly on the filter. This will help you keep track of how long it has been and when you need to install a new one.
How to Clean Air Conditioner Condenser Coils
After the filters, the condenser coils on your air conditioning unit are one of the most important parts to maintain. Cleaning the conditioning coils will help maintain the efficiency of your system and minimize the costs to power it.
How often should the condenser coils be cleaned, and how long will it take?
Depending on where you live, it’s recommended that you clean your condenser coils at least once a year. If you live somewhere with a lot of flowers or trees with pollen, then two to three times a year may be needed. The main culprit you need to look out for in your condenser is dandelions and other similar cotton flowering plants.
These can blow into your unit with ease and cause all kinds of harm. Also, if left for long enough, debris like dried cut grass and leaves make their way into your outdoor unit and damage your condenser coils. To ensure the efficiency of your unit, and to make sure that it keeps working correctly, this is a high priority task that could save you thousands.
You’ll need some tools
When cleaning your condenser coils, you’ll need some standard tools, including screwdrivers and a wrench, to get into the unit itself. To do the cleaning, you’ll need a garden hose or pressure washer, some cleaner that foams when you spray it, and a cooling fin comb as an optional extra.
You’ll also need a brush that isn’t too stiff to clean your cooling fins. The whole process will take an hour or two, depending on the last time you cleaned your system and how dirty it has become. If you get into your air conditioner and find that the job looks too much for you or will take too long, hiring a professional may be a good use of your time.
The best time to clean your air conditioner is just before the summer to make sure that it’s in full working order before you need to use it regularly. Try to get a full service of your air conditioner done well before it starts to get hot enough to use your air conditioning, as you may find that there are parts that need to be replaced or fixed to get it through the next summer. The last thing you want is to turn your air conditioning on one day in the middle of summer to find that it isn’t working, and that you need to find someone to fix it for you while you sweat.
Cleaning the Condenser Coil Yourself
The first thing to do is to turn the air conditioning off. The main power will be at the switch panel, and you can also turn the thermostat off. It’s recommended that you do both of these. Once turned off, you can get to work, but be mindful not to touch any electrics when possible as you work. The first thing to do is to clear out all of the debris around the outdoor unit. This is to maximize airflow that can be blocked off by things like grass clippings and leaves.
Once you’ve cleared the debris, you can get into the unit itself. There will generally be several bolts or screws to let you get into the main section of the outdoor unit at either the top or the side. As you’re opening the panel, be careful not to damage anything as the motor for the fan can sometimes be attached to it.
Once you’re into the unit, you’ll see that more debris will have made it into the case. Take a vacuum made for outdoor use and suck up all of this, and then gently vacuum the cooling fins as well, taking care not to bend them.
Once all the main debris has been cleaned away, you can start cleaning. Coil cleaner can be bought for relatively cheap, and this is what you’ll want to use to clean the fins and coils. Take this and cover all of the outside of the coil and fins and around the vents. If you don’t have any coil cleaner, then a mixture of water and detergent will also work. Leave this to soak for a few minutes, and then spray off with your garden hose.
Do this from the inside of the case out to get as much dirt out of the machine as possible. As you do this, take care not to spray the compressor directly when possible. It generally isn’t necessary to spray the outer case of the unit, as this will shoot more debris and dirt back inside.
The next step is to clean the cooling fins and make sure that they are straight. This may be the most time-consuming part of the process, and you’ll need to use a cooling fin comb to get the job done. While this will take a while, it will make a difference in the efficiency of the whole system, and they are an important part of your air conditioning unit.
Straighten cooling fins
Try to make any fins as straight as possible. It’s worth the time. If you’re not sure what cooling fan comb you need, you’ll have to figure this out. Take a tape measure and count how many fins there are in an inch. This is the tooth count you’ll need for the comb that you buy.
Once you’ve straightened the fins as much as possible, then it’s time to reassemble the unit. This should be a relatively simple task of putting the top back on and screwing it back in. Once this is back on, you can turn the main power switch back on, as well as the thermostat.
It’s a good idea to turn your air conditioner on and check for any noises. Also to generally see if everything is working correctly. If anything doesn’t sound normal, then it’s recommended that you call a professional to see what the problem is. Maintaining your air conditioner can take a little bit of time. However it’s worth it to make your system more efficient and last longer.