Text by Blair Korchinski
Air conditioning is one modern convenience that many people find difficult, if not impossible to do without. Like any other mechanical system in your home, a little maintenance will go a long way to ensuring a longer life for your air conditioning system. A proper maintenance schedule can save you money on your energy bill and ensure proper operation of your system so that your house is comfortable during the hot months of summer.
As part of your regular house cleaning, you should vacuum all registers and cold air return vents on a weekly basis. This will help to prevent your air conditioning system from circulating dust and allergens around your home.
You should check your condensation tube at least once a month to ensure it is draining properly. A blocked tube can cause your entire system to malfunction if it backs up onto electronic components. A quick visual inspection can save a lot of future costs.
Clean or change your filter once a month. Some filters can be vacuumed, while others require replacement. Check your manual to find out which type your air conditioner has.
Vacuum all vents. If you have central air conditioning, it will move air through your heating system. Remove registers and vent covers and vacuum inside them. This will reduce the amount of dust circulating in your house and increase the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
Trim any grass or other vegetation from around the exterior portion of your air conditioner. This should be done in such a fashion that grass clippings are not allowed to enter the unit.
A visual inspection and general cleaning should also take place once a month. Vacuum any dirt off of the coil cover and from around the unit. Remove any debris from the cooling coils. Check for wet or damp spots on the floor or ground that could indicate a leak.
These steps should be carried out before the beginning of the air conditioning season. If your air conditioner is in use more than six months of the year, these steps should be taken every six months.
At least once a year, you should closely inspect all tubes, pipes, and fittings for leaks. Leaks allow the fluid to escape from your air conditioner. This not only damages the environment, but will cost you money as your unit will need to be recharged more often.
Clean the coils thoroughly. On most units, this is achieved by turning the power to the air conditioning off, removing any access covers and gently spraying the coils with a garden hose. Use an air conditioner cleaning product to remove any dirt that remains.
It is important that you check your manual for cleaning procedures specific to your machine, and follow the instructions of any cleaning products carefully.
Every Two Years
Hire a professional technician to give your air conditioner a tune-up. He should check the refrigerant level and recharge your unit if necessary, provide lubrication if needed, clean all coils and cooling fins thoroughly, check the air-flow over the coils, clean out all drains, replace any worn or defective parts, and provide a good overall cleaning. The technician should also be able to provide you with a list of things that need attention or may need attention in the future.
Have your ducts cleaned by a professional. Having your ducts cleaned will prevent dust and allergens from circulating around your home. It will also help to ensure that your air conditioning system operates as efficiently as possible.
A clean, well-maintained air conditioner should give you about fifteen years of trouble-free service. By following a maintenance schedule you ensure that you are getting the maximum efficiency from your unit and extend its working life as long as possible. Maintenance is relatively simple to do and takes very little time. It helps to increase your comfort level and avoid costly repairs.