There are few chores that pay off more than having a routine maintenance schedule for your AC unit. You will not only increase the chances of staying cool all summer, but you will ideally save money on energy bills. A properly maintained air conditioning unit uses less energy, costs less money to run and functions optimally. It will also last longer before it requires replacement.
The Importance of Residential Air Conditioning DIY Cleaning & Maintenance
It is important to bear in mind that some things can be done by the average homeowner, while others are best left for the professionals. If you are uncomfortable with doing any cleaning or maintenance task yourself, do not hesitate to contact a professional to do it for you.
Clean or Replace the Air Filter
Cleaning or replacing your AC filter is perhaps one of the most important things when it comes to air conditioning maintenance. You should do it every month during winter and summer and at least once during fall as well as spring.
When the filter is full of dirt, allergens and dust, air flow decreases, making your unit work harder than it needs to. The air flow through the unit may ideally become dustier, dirtier and more prone to triggering allergy symptoms for those living in your home. That’s why it is imperative to ensure it is clean.
Check The Wiring & Components
Before you work on any unit, it’s imperative to always start by turning off the unit which can be done at the main breaker or at the service disconnect on the outdoor unit. The next step is to remove the access panel on the unit and look for any indications of overheating (blackened wires and melted insulation).
You should ideally check any electrical connections to ascertain they are tight. If you have an electrical test meter, you can use it to check the unit’s capacitors. Ideally, check the contactor switch and if you notice excessive pitting, replace it.
If you’re not comfortable with replacing the parts mentioned above, you should consider hiring a local heating and AC expert.
Inspect the Condenser Unit Fan
Ideally, turn off the power to your unit and inspect the fan on the top side of the condenser unit to ensure it’s still in optimal condition. If there are any chips or cracks on the blades, replace them. If the unit is relatively old, you may also want to oil the bearings on a regular basis.
Clean the Outdoor Unit
Over time, dirt, debris, grass clippings and leaves will build up on the outdoor AC unit, thus reducing the capacity of the system and air flow. Use a hose to slowly wash out the debris and dirt starting at the top. Avoid using a power washer and be careful not to bend the delicate coil fins.
Ideally, trim any shrubs back from around the AC unit indoor to prevent them from making the system less efficient.
These are some of the most important residential air conditioning DIY cleaning and maintenance tips. If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to call a professional.