An air conditioner is a piece of home equipment that requires regular maintenance. Learning some basic tips will help you keep your air conditioner running smoothly, keeping you cool during the hottest weather. Regular maintenance can prevent the need for costly repairs resulting from lack of attention.
You will need:
Step 1: Change the air filter as recommended by the manufacturer. This keeps the unit running efficiently, helps to optimize airflow, and helps prevent costly repairs in the future. Most standard filters must be changed every 30 days. Thicker, pleated filters usually have a longer life span. Mark your calendar with the replacement dates so you will remember to change filters according to schedule.
Step 2: Keep the condenser unit clean by spraying it with water from a garden hose once per year or more frequently, if necessary. This dislodges leaves, grass clippings, dirt, and other debris to maximize airflow. However, check the owner manual first before cleaning the unit in this manner. Never use a brush to clean the condenser unit because this can bend the fins, which impedes the airflow and reduces efficiency.
Always turn off the power to the unit at the circuit panel before cleaning and keep it off for at least 30 minutes following cleaning. Clear the area surrounding the condenser unit clear of grass and weeds. Maintain an open perimeter of at least a few feet.
Step 3: Positioning shrubbery around the condenser makes the unit less noticeable, shields it from the sun, improves efficiency, protects the finish, and helps prolong its life. Select an evergreen shrub because this will not shed leaves. Consider the mature size of the shrubs when determining planting location. Keep shrubs trimmed to maintain a couple of feet of clearance around the unit. Leave enough space behind the unit for convenient access.
Step 4: If you have pets that frequent the area, install protective fencing around the condenser unit. This helps keep the unit and pets safe. Select a fence material that will not impede airflow, allow enough clearance to access the unit, and include a gate.
Step 5: If using a cover to keep the condenser clean during the winter, cover only the top of the unit to allow adequate airflow to the sides. This helps prevent moisture from building up, which can damage the condenser. Always remove the cover before turning on the air conditioner. If the unit is actually a heat pump, do not cover it.
Step 6: Have a professional inspection every spring before using the air conditioner. A professional will perform the more complex maintenance tasks, including cleaning the indoor coil and drain system. This expert is also more likely to identify and resolve problems before they become major issues.