Easy Air Conditioner Maintenance You Can Do at Home

May 18, 2012

The easiest way to ensure your air conditioner is going to last year after year is by doing routine maintenance. About once a year, you’re going to want to have an HVAC professional come out and inspect your AC unit so they can address any minor problems, oil moving parts, and do complete safety checks on your equipment. But not all air conditioning maintenance needs to be handled by an expert! There are some things you can do on your own!

Replace the filters – We’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post about improving air conditioner efficiency, but it’s important enough to say again: change your air filters! Clogged and dirty filters not only force your air conditioner to work harder to cool your home, but they can cause your refrigerant coils to ice over and break. Replacing your filters is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of air conditioner maintenance at home!

Clean the condenser – Speaking of your condenser, give it a little TLC! We recommend consulting your service manual before you start on this air conditioner maintenance task to make sure there aren’t any special instructions for cleaning your condenser. However, there are a couple simple steps that nearly anyone can follow to clean out their AC:

  1. Get out all of the big stuff inside your condenser with a vacuum—if you have a soft brush attachment, this is the perfect time for it, as the condenser coils are extremely fragile and easily damaged. You want to try to vacuum up as much of the dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris that has gotten inside your air conditioner.
  2. Now that the majority of the dirt has been removed, set the spray nozzle on your hose to light or medium pressure and rinse your condenser from top to bottom. Again, make sure you’re very careful when cleaning your condenser coils! You don’t want to damage them.
  3. Inspect your coils after cleaning them. If you see any places where they have been bent or damaged, try to straighten them back out with a coil fin comb—which you can get at most appliance stores—or even a butter knife.

Clean the evaporator – The part of your AC that’s inside the house—usually in the basement—is the evaporator. If your evaporator is easily accessible, it’s not too difficult to clean on your own—but if it’s tucked away, hard to get to, or you’re worried you’re going to damage something else in the process, contact an HVAC professional.

Of course, you should always reference your service manual before attempting any air conditioner maintenance, but special instructions aside, most evaporators can be cleaned by following these steps:

  1. Remove the foil-wrapped insulation covering your evaporator. This is usually held down with tape, and you’re going to want to save that for later! The access panel beneath can be removed with a screwdriver and set aside.
  2. Clean away any accumulated dirt and dust with a stiff brush or a vacuum.
  3. Clean out the condensate tray beneath your evaporator and use 1tbsp of bleach to clear out the weep hole of the tray—this will prevent future mold and bacteria growth in your evaporator.
  4. Replace the tray, reattach the cover, and use the insulation to cover the evaporator again.

Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance

There are some aspects of air conditioner maintenance that you just shouldn’t tackle on your own unless you’re a trained HVAC technician. Some of these things include:

  • Measuring voltages and currents on all motors
  • Calibrating your thermostat
  • Testing and correcting airflow
  • Complete safety checks
  • And much more!

When you need professional air conditioner maintenance in Cincinnati, Rick’s Heating & Cooling has you covered. Our highly trained technicians know air conditioners inside and out, and they can ensure your system is operating at maximum efficiency. Contact us today!