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How to Maintain your Central Air Conditioner

Is your central air conditioner ready for summer? Your central air conditioner needs regular maintenance to function efficiently and throughout its years of service. Regular maintenance of your central air conditioner, and you not only save money on energy bills, but you will also increase your home comfort and the lifespan of your air conditioner.

Simple steps to maintain your central air conditioner

Shut off the power

It’s essential to completely turn off power to the unit, due to the danger of working around electricity and moving part of the air conditioner. Find the barkers for both outdoor unit and indoor unit and turn the power off.

Cleaning Coils

During the months and years of service, air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt and debris. Dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing coil’s ability to absorb heat. Check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary to make sure it functions efficiently. The outdoor condenser coil also become dirty when the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. It’s easy to visually inspect and notice if dirt building up on its fins.
Maintain your central air conditioner

Falling leaves and lawn mower are some of the sources of dirt and debris that can make your condenser find dirty and insolated. Cleaning the area around the coil and removing debris can allow for adequate airflow around condenser.

Vacuum the fins of condenser unit with a soft brush. If you have to remove to remove and lift off the box to get to coils make sure to check your owner’s manual for direction and remove the box carefully without damaging the fins.

Inspect Coil fins

The aluminum fins on condenser coils and evaporator coils are easily bent and block the airflow. This also prevent your air conditioner to function efficiently. You can buy a tool called “fin comb” from air conditioning wholesalers and use this tool to comb the bended fins back into their original position.

Clean or change Air Filter

The most important maintenance task that improve the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely inspect, clean and replace the air filters. For central air conditioners, filters are generally located along the return duct’s length. Clogged and dirty filters reduce the amount of air flow and significantly reduce the efficiency of your cooling system. A clogged filter also can obstruct the air flow, causing air bypass the filter and deposit dirt directly into evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity and decrease its efficiency. Cleaning or replacing dirty, clogged air filter lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Check condensate drain tube

When your central air conditioner is working to cool your home, the cold coil absorbs heat from the air and cooling it before the air is circulated back into your home. The humidity in the air condenses on the cool surface of the evaporator coil as liquid water and dripping into a pan below. From the pan, the water flows into a drain tube which is normally routed into a basement floor drain, utility sink or outside.

Over time, mold and algae can build up and potentially plug the drain, causing the drain is either not flowing or flowing slowly. A plugged drain can cause damage by flooding onto the floor or if the system is equipped with a drain float, cause the system to stop cooling in order to avoid flooding.

Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet. To avoid this, occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channel.

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