It's not too difficult to keep up with air conditioning maintenance, and the effort you put in results in a longer life for your AC and a reduced risk of malfunctions and breakdowns. Proper maintenance is a combined effort between you and an air conditioning maintenance professional who provides an annual tune-up. Here are two important things you can do to keep your AC in good shape and running efficiently.
1. Keep The Air Handler Clean
The AC maintenance tech should start the season off by cleaning the air handler parts, such as the blower and evaporator coils. It's up to you the rest of the season to keep dust and dirt out of the air handler. The reason this is important is that dust can collect on the evaporator coil and keep the refrigerant from cooling your home like it is supposed to. Ice could even form on the coils when they're dirty.
Another reason to keep dust out of the air handler is so the blower doesn't get dirty and cause the motor to overheat. If the coils ice over or if the blower gets dirty, you'll need to have the AC technician come out and clean them again.
You can keep dust to a minimum in your air handler by changing the filter regularly throughout the summer and dusting around the air handler to keep dust from building up and getting sucked inside.
2. Keep The Condenser Free From Obstructions
Since the condenser is outside, you'll need to monitor it through the summer to make sure bushes, branches, and weeds don't crowd the unit and block airflow. The air conditioning maintenance technician services the condenser parts during the tune-up, and the rest of the summer you should ensure the unit has adequate airflow. You can do this by making sure grass clippings don't get blown on the fins and coat the outside of the condenser and by keeping towels and outdoor toys away from the unit.
If you mow close to the condenser, you should also watch for bent fins. The fins are on the outside of the condenser coils, and they are made of thin metal that bends easily. Debris kicked up by a mower might bend the fins and obstruct airflow. Kids and pets might run into the fins and bend them. You don't necessarily have to call an AC maintenance company to fix bent fins. You can buy an inexpensive fin comb that opens the fins back up. This allows you to fix bent fins whenever you see them.
It's important to maintain adequate airflow around the condenser because the air is needed to cool down the coils. The coils carry refrigerant, so if they can't cool off, the refrigerant can't cool down and it won't be able to cool your home efficiently. Reach out to a professional who provides air conditioning maintenance to learn more.