About 75% of US homes have air conditioning. Still, many homeowners and tenants are unaware of just how critical air conditioning maintenance is. AC maintenance can help prevent costly repairs or replacements, increase the efficiency of an HVAC system, and lower monthly utility costs.
The benefits of regular air conditioner maintenance far outweigh the disadvantages, and residents have the choice between completing maintenance tasks themselves or hiring a team of professional technicians. Keep reading to discover some useful tips on how to clean air conditioner components and keep an AC unit in tip-top condition.
How to Clean Air Conditioner Components: Tips and Tricks
Regular AC maintenance is crucial to keeping utility bills low and lengthening the life of a unit. And there are several things that tenants or homeowners can do to keep their air conditioning system clean, efficient, and damage-free. Below are some of the most effective maintenance solutions.
1. Remove Debris Often
Removing debris is the first step toward a healthier, happier AC unit. To begin, you should first shut off your air conditioning system. It is important to remember to always shut off live electronics or electrical systems before starting any type of internal work on them.
Once everything is correctly powered off, grab a wrench or a screwdriver. These tools can help you loosen any bolts or screws that are holding the upper fan cage to the body of the unit.
It may also be a good idea to grab a bottle or de-rusting agent or cleaner, depending on the state of the cage’s fasteners. A dry rag is a great item to use when wiping down metal components dry and cleaning tight spaces.
Once the nuts and bolts are loosened or removed, you can lift the cage upward. Some cages may swing open on a hinge, while others are entirely removable. The only thing that matters is that you can reach into the unit.
Dead leaves, random fallen twigs, and other environmental debris can quickly accumulate inside an outdoor AC unit. Removing this debris at least twice a year, if not more often, is crucial. Air conditioning systems are only efficient if they have proper airflow, and leaves and twigs don’t help.
Of course, keeping the inside of an AC unit doesn’t only mean removing visible debris. Proper maintenance includes a deeper dive into the system.
2. Keep the Evaporator Coil Clean
Not every homeowner may feel confident enough to perform this task. And that’s fine. A team of professional HVAC service technicians can safely locate and clean a unit’s evaporator coil.
Still, if you know where the evaporator coil door is on your unit, and you’re prepared to take the proper safety measures, you can complete this task yourself. To complete this step, you’ll need:
- a commercial coil cleaner spray
- protective gloves
- a soft brush
Once you’ve gathered your materials and opened the evaporator coil compartment, you can use the brush to dust the coil gently. Any accumulated dirt should fall into the drain pan below. After removing surface debris, follow manufacturer directions, and apply the coil cleaner to the coil.
The solution should foam briefly, then begin to drip into the pan. When the coil is no longer dripping, remove the drain pan and clean. Bleach can eliminate a great deal of grime, and a bleach-water solution is recommended for pan cleaning.
A combination of warm water and bleach should be poured down the drain before replacing the pan. If the solution fails to drain smoothly, it may be time to clean the condenser drain. Homeowners will need a wet vacuum for this clogged AC drains, and it may be best to contact a professional HVAC technician.
Air conditioning filters, on the other hand, are relatively easy to clean. Homeowners that regularly clean or replace filters enjoy better air quality and a higher-functioning AC unit.
3. Change Your Filters
Homeowners should change their in-home blower air conditioning filters at least once a month, especially when dealing with large homes. There are several sizes and types of air filters from which to choose, with some of the more expensive options tending to last longer or trap more allergens.
However, HEPA filters can restrict airflow and cause internal condensation issues, so be mindful of what your unit can handle.
4. Keep Things Level
Ensuring that your unit is sitting on entirely level ground can help fix several issues and prevent longterm damage. Placing a level on the top of a unit is the best way to determine how level it is. If the supporting concrete is cracked or damaged, it may be time to call the professionals for help.
5. Do Some Landscaping
Removing debris around a unit can also help improve airflow. Trees, overgrown shrubs, and invasive weeds can all wreak havoc on an AC system. Be sure that the area surrounding an outdoor unit is free of obstacles, significant vegetation, or debris.
You may be surprised at just how much this tiny change can improve the air quality and airflow inside your home.
6. Spray and Clean the Fins
The fins on an AC unit help to keep debris out while welcoming air in. They can become filthy relatively quickly. This is especially true of particularly dusty areas, or regions with little vegetation.
Taking a garden or backyard hose to those fins can help remove the majority of grime and grit. However, a quick scrub with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth can remove set-in dirt. As always, it’s vital to ensure that the unit is entirely powered down before attempting to spray the fins.
7. Work Toward Efficiency
A handful of practical AC products, coupled with a few lifestyle changes or habits, can help to reduce air conditioning costs immediately. Programmable thermostats or smart thermostats can automatically raise or lower a home’s temperature. And tenants can make a habit of turning an AC unit off or powering it down into an energy-saving mode before leaving the house for work or errands.
Innovation and responsible habits can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in utility bills and maintenance costs each year.
Enjoy the Benefits of Air Conditioner Maintenance Today
Keeping an HVAC system isn’t overly complicated, though it does require proper safety techniques, cleaning materials, and a little patience. Still, the benefits of regular maintenance include everything from a fresher, cleaner home to lower monthly bills.
If you’re unsure about performing at-home air conditioning maintenance, don’t fear. Our team of technicians and customer service professionals can help assist you in any HVAC maintenance, repair, or replacement you may need.
To find out more, please contact us today!