Keeping your cooling system in top-notch operating condition requires periodic maintenance of air condition units and systems. If left unattended for long periods of time, central air conditioning units will get dirty, requiring more energy to keep the house cool and potentially cost you money. A routine inspection, repair and cleaning program can help you avoid premature failure of the system. Even window air conditioning units can benefit from maintenance. Listed here are some tips to keep your air conditioning units performing at their peak.
Change the air filter monthly – This is the easiest and least expensive way to perform maintenance of air conditioning units. A dirty filter restricts air flow and allows particulate to get through, clogging the system’s evaporator coils. Changing the filter once a month means the air conditioner doesn’t have to overwork to keep the home cool.
Keep your drip pan and drain line clean – Water removed from the air collects in a pan beneath the evaporator coils and runs outside. Because these components stay wet all the time, they are prone to mold and slime growth and dirt collection, eventually causing them to clog. Maintenance of air conditioning units should always include cleaning of these two items, because if they do clog, mold may grow inside the unit, and condensate will back up and carry over into the ductwork, dripping on furniture and floors inside the house.
Clean your coils – There are two sets of coils on every air conditioner, regardless of its type. On central air conditioning units, the condenser coil is outside at the unit, and the evaporator coil is housed in the main ductwork near the forced air fan (this coil may or may not be accessible). On window air conditioning units, the coils are located inside behind the grille and on the outside end. The unit may have to be removed to access the outside coils. Thorough maintenance of air conditioning units should include cleaning of the coils if possible, since they are the heat exchanging surfaces that determine how well the overall system performs. If they can be accessed, they can be cleaned with a commercially-available coil cleaner, a scrub brush and a garden hose.
Maintenance of air conditioning units should be done only on those areas easily accessible by the homeowner. If the system is enclosed or sealed, maintenance should be performed by a qualified air conditioning professional who has the tools and knowledge to do the job right. Regular maintenance is vital for the lowest cooling costs, highest efficiencies, and longest life possible from the air conditioning units. At a minimum, maintenance of air conditioning units should be performed once a year, in the springtime, before regular usage begins during the hot summer months.