An air conditioning system can be a major financial decision and homeowners should do what they can to maintain optimal functioning of their A/C units. Similar to starting an old car, an air conditioning unit should be utilized as soon as possible, and preventive maintenance can help the unit run in top condition when it is needed.
First, please take caution: before doing any kind of preventative maintenance, always ensure the thermostat is set to off and turn the A/C unit breaker off as well.
Filter Replacement or Cleaning
Once monthly, either clean or replace the filter. This step is quick, easy, and helps avoid further issues that could arise. When an air filter is clogged, airflow becomes restricted and the coils on the equipment can be frozen. When airflow is too restricted, the air conditioner must work longer and harder, which uses much more energy and is more expensive to run. An allergen-friendly filter will need to be changed more frequently as it accumulates debris much quicker.
Ensure that Ductwork is Intact
Houses that have a forced air-heating unit installed typically share ductwork with the A/C. “If the furnace has not demonstrated any potential problems, the ductwork is likely in good shape. However, it still can’t hurt to ensure seals are intact and there are no holes or gaps, and it can provide peace of mind,” suggested Steve Lewis, president and CEO of Ambient Edge heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Sanitize Coils and the Condenser
Prior to starting up the air conditioning unit, be sure that the condenser and coils are cleaned. This will especially need to be done if the unit has not been covered. Obstructed flow can occur when transferring the heat out if there is residue on the A/C condenser.
To clean the unit, move all leaves, debris, or dirt away from the air conditioner. A canned air duster or soft linen cloth can remove mold or pollen that may have grown. Dirt and dust should be pushed out the same way that it entered the air conditioner. Take caution not to bend any part of the unit. Once the outside has been cleaned, the inside should also be wiped as much as possible.
Check Refrigerant Lines
When inspecting the coolant (refrigerant) lines, be sure that they are shielded with insulation to prevent loss of power. Foam insulation tape can be used for this, or foam insulation sleeves will also do the job.
Once the required maintenance has been performed, it is finally time to test the unit to ensure that it operates properly. If the unit will not turn on, the battery in the thermostat could be dead and may need replacement. A thermostat may need a new battery as often as once per year. If changing the battery doesn’t help, a professional can inspect the entire system to find the problem and have the system back up and running in no time.