The first hot day of summer is just around the corner! The last thing you need is to switch your unit over to central air and find that your air conditioner doesn’t work.
Over the cooler months of winter your air conditioner sits idle and collects debris such as leaves and some general maintenance is needed to keep it running smoothly. If this maintenance isn’t done before the dog days of summer arrive, you may find yourself sitting in the hot air waiting for an HVAC specialist to arrive. Now is the time to take a good look at your AC system and make sure that it is in good working order.
Two Main Components Of An Air Conditioner
Your central air system contains a condenser (the pump that is located outside of your home) and an evaporator unit which can be found on the air handler. These two components work together to extract the heat from your home using refrigeration technology. The air handler will move the chilled air through the ductwork of your home and into the various rooms.
If you have a problem with your refrigeration system you will want to call a Myrtle Beach air conditioning professional and not attempt to repair your air conditioner yourself. However, there are certain maintenance tasks you can perform to make sure the unit is operating efficiently.
You will want to turn off the power at the service panel before starting any maintenance project. Typically you will find a 240-volt disconnect box near the unit which contains a lever, a circuit breaker or fuses which will shut off the condenser. You will want to wait about 30 minutes for the charge in the capacitor to be released.
Steps For Maintenance
1. Replace or clean the filters. This should be done twice each year as the seasons change. Dirty or clogged filters will cause the air flow to be restricted which reduces the efficiency of the unit. Dirty filters will also cause dust to be filtered back into your home aggravating allergies.
2. Clean the condenser. The condenser unit is usually located outside and is a large fan inside of a metal box with grill like sides. The condenser is protected with cover to prevent debris from getting inside. Make sure that the fan is free of leaves and debris.
The fan moves the air over the condenser coils. If debris gets inside of the unit the coils will clog which will obstruct the flow of air and reduce efficiency.
To clean these coils you will want to remove the top and side panel from the unit. Always make sure the power is off before you remove the panels. Be careful not to pull on any wires connected to the fan.
Use the soft brush on your vacuum cleaner and gently clean the coils. Use caution around the delicate fins. If you should bend the fins, you can use a “fin comb” which is specifically made to straighten out the fins around the coils. Once you have cleaned the outside of the coils, you can then vacuum them from the inside.
If you find debris that seems to be lodged in the unit you can use a coil cleaner spray to remove it. Be careful not to spray any electrical components. You can use a hose to remove dirt, however, use caution. You don’t want to flood the unit, spray water on electrical components or bend the fins.
Scoop up any leaves at the base of the unit and if there is a drain you will want to make sure the drain is open.
Look for any loose bolts and make sure they are tight. Spray a few drops of WD-40 on any ports. Then mop up any excess water and reassemble the condenser. If you find any frayed lines you will want to have them replaced.
Look around the unit and cut any weeds or vegetation that could interfere with the airflow of the unit.
Make sure the unit has had time to dry before you turn on the power to the condenser. Make sure the thermostat is set to Off, turn on the power at the main panel and then turn your thermostat to Cool.
3. Inspect the coolant lines of your air conditioner. These are the tubes that run from the evaporator which is located on the air handler to the outside condenser. They will typically be covered with insulation to prevent loss of energy. Look for areas where the insulation may be frayed or had been removed by weather and replace it.
You can save time and money by having a professional do the work for you. Now is the time to get your air conditioner ready for summer!
Grand Strand Heating And Cooling
Myrtle Beach, SC