Easy Air Conditioner Maintenance Protects the Budget
by Cassidy Lane
Air conditioner electricity use costs US homeowners 11 billion dollars every year. Many costs associated with the air conditioner can be reduced with a good maintenance plan. A clean system functions efficiently, saves energy and prevents premature failure. A homeowner can easily perform most maintenance steps to keep a system running and save money.
Cleaning the Condenser Cabinet
The condenser cabinet is located outside the home housing a condenser coils, a compressor and a fan. During the winter, it needs to be protected from ice and snow build up. Cover the top and sides with a breathable cover. The first step in spring maintenance is to do a visual inspection of the cabinet to look for any damage.Use a level on the top of the cabinet to make sure the pad has not settled and make and any necessary adjustments. Be sure that there is about 24 inches of clear space around all sides.
Checking the Connections
The two copper pipes coming from inside and connecting near the bottom of the unit need to be checked. Make certain that they are intact and the connections are secure. If not they should be fixed by a qualified technician.These need to insulated with foam sleeves available at most hardware outlets.
Cleaning the Coils
At least once a year remove the fan unit from the top of the cabinet by removing the screws and lifting the top and placing it fan side up on a solid support. Spray water through the coils inside the cabinet with a garden hose to clear debris that collects on the outside of the coils. Check to see that the fins that the coils run through are not bent and straighten them if necessary. Make certain the fan blades are spinning freely before reattachment.
Keep the Air Flowing
Inside the home the components are located in the furnace. The most important step is changing the air filter located inside the air return system at least at the recommended three month Interval. Check it monthly throughout the year to see that it has not become clogged or dirty. Also located inside the unit are the evaporator coils where dust that makes it through the filter will accumulate. Remove a side panel to gain access. Clean the coils with a soft brush always brushing with the direction of the fins making certain not to bend them.
Prevent Water Damage
Condensation occurs when the unit is running and drains to a pan at the bottom then runs out to a floor drain through the drain lines. If the pan fills with water it may cause the system to shut down. Be sure these are open and water is not collecting in the pan. If they are clogged using a wet/dry vac will provide enough suction to pull any algae or blockages out of the drain line.
Maintenance Saves Money
Keeping the system in good repair avoids high replacement costs. Following a regular maintenance plan will keep things in top operating condition. An efficiently operating system will not only last longer but result in a significant reduction in energy usage. This can add significantly to the cost savings over time.