The sun and warm weather are coming along (hopefully sometime soon) with higher electric bills. Did you know that just by keeping a clean air conditioner you can lower your electric consumption by 5-15 percent, saving you money?
Just like your car, your air conditioner needs service to keep running smoothly. Here’s a maintenance checklist to help your HVAC system last longer and keep your repair schedule up-to-date.
You also need to clean air conditioners regularly. Here are some tips to keep your air conditioner clean.
1. Turn off power
It’s always important to turn off power to the unit because of an air conditioner’s moving parts. Turn off the exterior shut-off box, and also turn off the breaker box indoors to be extra safe.
2. Remove waste
Even commercial rooftop units will get debris. Remove the fan cage using a wrench or screwdriver. Clean leaves and other waste either by hand or use a wet/dry vacuum with a soft brush connector.
For non-roof top units, make sure there are no bushes, trees, or grass within two feet of the condenser.
During the winter, cover your unit to prevent debris build-up. Don’t completely cover the sides to prevent moisture accumulation, which can lead to corrosion.
Remove all covers if the unit is running.
3. Clean air conditioner fins
After you vacuum debris, use a gentle stream of water to spray through the fins. Don’t use high pressure or a pressure washer because you could damage the fins.
If any fins are bent, you can realign with a dinner knife. Use gentle pressure and do not insert the knife deeper than a half an inch.
4. Moving inside
There are some areas you can clean inside now that you have checked the outdoor unit. On your indoor furnace/blower, look for your evaporator coil, which is typically on top of your furnace.
Dust off the coil first. Then spray the coil with a no-rinse coil cleaner, which will foam and trickle into the drain pan.
Clean the drain pan using soap, a small amount of bleach, and hot water. Then pour a solution of 50 percent water/50 percent bleach directly down the drain.
If it drains easily, you do not have a clog. If it does not drain easily, you should call a professional.
5. Change the furnace/blower filter
You should change your HVAC system filter at least twice a year – once before heating season and once before cooling season.
If your space is dusty, change more often to clean your air conditioner.
6. Restore power
Turn power back on and check that air conditioner is working by lowering thermostat.
When to call a pro
These steps will help you keep a clean air conditioner. There are times you need a trained HVAC technician. For example:
- Refrigerant leaks are dangerous and can lead to big problems if not fixed properly.
- You should have professionals clean your ducts to get proper air flow.
It’s always important to have a certified technician check your air conditioner regularly because they may find a small issue before it’s a big problem.
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