|How to Maintain Your Central Air Conditioner|
|We can thank the industrial revolution for the advent of air conditioning. It was believed that controlling heat and humidity in the workplace increased worker productivity. Soon though, air conditioning for personal comfort became accepted as well. One of the first examples of this is the central cooling and heating system designed for the New York Stock Exchange building in 1902.
Home air conditioning became popular after World War II and has become a standard feature in many homes across America. Beside changing an air filter once a month, central air doesn't require much in the way of maintenance, but by following the steps below you may be able to avoid future repair bills.
Keep outdoor condenser unit free from debris | as needed
Anything obstructing the unit will prevent it from dissipating heat as effectively, making the unit work harder. This wastes energy and money. This task should be repeated as needed.
1. Turn off the air conditioner.
2. Go outside and look at the unit, checking for any shrubbery, leaves, grass or dirt that may be impeding the flow of air from the unit.
3. Remove any such obstructions with a broom or vacuum cleaner.
4. Check the base pan (under the unit) and remove any debris that has accumulated there as well.
5. If there is debris or dirt deep in the unit you may want to call for service.
Clean or change air filter | once a month
The air filter is the most important part of your cooling system. If it becomes clogged, then your system will have to work harder and longer to supply the same amount of cool air.
First, check and see what size filter you have. Make sure the air conditioner is turned off before you remove the filter. Once you know what size air filter you have, go to a home improvement store and buy a filter with the same dimensions as the old one, and then install the new filter. If you have a reusable filter, see our article on cleaning an air filter.
Clean indoor coil | once a year
A dirty coil will hinder the unit's ability to cool the air moving through the unit. This makes the unit work harder wasting energy and money.
1. Remove the front panel of the indoor unit exposing the system's coil.
2. Ensure that the coil is dry. Using the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, gently remove any dust or debris from the coil.
3. Check and make sure that coil fins are straight. If not, straighten them with a fin comb available from refrigeration supply dealers.
4. Replace the front panel.
Brush and vacuum the fan blades and fan enclosure area | once a year
To keep your air conditioner running at maximum efficiency.
1. Turn the unit off and remove the air filter.
2. You should be able to access the fan blades and the fan enclosure area. Use a cleaning brush and your vacuum cleaner's attachments to remove as much of the dust and any other debris as you can.
3. Replace the air filter or replace it with a clean one.
Clean drain line | once a year
A clogged drain will not allow condensation to drain properly causing potential water damage to your home.
1. It is best to perform this task with the help of another person.
2. Turn off the unit.
3. Remove the front panel of the indoor unit and find your drain line.
4. Disconnect the drain line.
5. Get a water hose and place it in the drain line. If the drain line is too small, get a nozzle attachment for the hose and wrap a towel around the area where they connect.
6. Find where the drain line exits the house.
7. Have your helper turn on the water while you man the hose, then have the assistant check where the drain exits the house.
8. Water should come out of the drain at the same flow rate as it is entering it. If the flow is slower, your drain line is partially clogged. If the clog is not removed by the flow of water, run a solution of half bleach and half water down the drain to clear any algae that may be blocking the pipe.
9. Reconnect the drain line.
10. Replace the front panel.