As the spring flowers begin to bud, we anticipate the baseball season, picnics, and our coming dependence on the “air conditioner.” Routine maintenance of the home air conditioning unit during the spring will increase your odds for a comfortable, relaxed summer.
Spring Cleaning for the Home Air Conditioner
As the spring flowers begin to bud, we anticipate the baseball season, picnics, and our coming dependence on the “air conditioner.”Routine maintenance of the home air conditioning unit during the spring will increase your odds for a comfortable, relaxed summer. Here are a few tips to make sure that you can keep your cool as temperatures soar.
Preliminary Checks of your Exterior Air Conditioner
Most home central air conditioners have two units and both should receive attention every spring. Some owners have covered the outdoor unit during the winter months for added protection. If you do, remove this cover and sweep away any leaves or debris that may have accumulated.
Give the entire unit an inspection for obvious signs of damage. Pay particular attention to the tubes and wires connecting the compressor unit to the home for breaks or deterioration.
Maintenance Inside the Casing of the Exterior Air Conditioning Unit
Shut off the power to the air conditioner at the breaker. If you winterized in the fall you may have already done this but double check be sure. After you are certain that the power is off, detach the housing from the outdoor compressor unit. This commonly involves removing several screws at the base of the casing and then lifting the cover free. Check for damage to any of the interior wires.
It is always possible for mice to have nibbled on the works during the winter. If you notice evidence of broken or damaged wires, repairs may require the assistance of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.
Now, find the condenser coils. They are the assembly of tubes and fins in the heart of the unit. You can use a garden hose and shop vacuum to remove any leaves, grass clippings or other debris that may have accumulated. This process may need to be repeated on a regular basis through the summer to keep the air conditioner functioning at peak efficiency.
Check the fan to make sure it moves freely. Some air conditioner fan motors need to be oiled by adding a few drops of electric motor oil through ports in the housing. Other air conditioner fan motors are oil free. Consult the owner’s manual and follow any lubricating instructions.
Now replace the unit cover.
Checking the Indoor Operating Unit of the Air Conditioner
The indoor unit of a central air conditioner does not commonly accumulate leaves, grass clippings and debris like the outdoor unit but it still needs maintenance. Find the evaporator coil, an assembly of tubes and projections, and vacuum off any dust that has accumulated through the winter. Check again for evidence of detached or deteriorated wires.
Mounted under the evaporator coil is a pan that catches moisture condensation from the coils. This pan has a tube draining the water to a floor drain or sink. Check the pan for signs of corrosion that could lead to leaks and make sure the tube is not clogged. To do that, pour a cup of water into the pan and make sure it drains properly. After you have checked this, clean the AC filter or replace the filter if it is disposable. Refer to the owner’s manual for additional instructions about the filters as necessary.
Now Test the Air Conditioner
Once you’ve inspected and cleaned both units, it is time to turn the system on. Flip the breaker and set your thermostat to the cool setting. Make sure the outdoor unit runs normally and the airflow into your home is cool. You are ready for summer.
Smooth Running for the Season
With this simple seasonal maintenance, you will minimize problems and ensure better efficiency from your air conditioning system. When your unit eventually needs more extensive servicing, a home warranty can reduce those headaches. It you are not already protected against the high unexpected costs of repairs for major home systems, you should take a look at the offerings of American Home Shield.