5 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips You Can Do Yourself
Sometimes, your air conditioning repair can be an unexpected big bill that you don’t want to deal with. Sure, you’ve planned for the odd emergency or two, but if that money could be saved instead of spent, wouldn’t that be so much better?
Luckily, there is some good news to this. Not every AC repair is going to cost a small fortune. In fact, there are a lot of helpful things you could do by yourself to prolong the life of your AC unit.
Now, when we talk about maintaining your AC unit, we’re talking about the big unit you have outside your home. The big, bulky, box that sits outside your house, circulating and regulating the cool air into your home when you need it. How do you prolong the life of your AC unit and save yourself some big bucks in the long run? By carrying out the following maintenance checks regularly:
Keep the AC Condenser Coil Clean – When you look at your AC unit, the condenser coil of your AC unit will have grates covering the outer part. When you look inside the grates, you should be able to see the copper tubing that loops back and forth around the unit. The coils are going to get plugged up with dust and debris over time because the unit operates by sucking air from the outside and circulating that air back into your home. Keep checking on your unit during the summer months when it’s going to be frequently used and if it looks dirty, all you have to do is hose it down. Try to avoid using any harsh cleaning chemicals to avoid corroding your unit. The best cleaning tip would be to clean from the top of your unit. Take off the top part of your AC unit and hose it down from the top. That way you are spraying your unit from the inside out.
- Uncover Your AC Unit Before Use – This one is by far the easiest tip to carry out. During the winter, some homeowners might cover their AC unit outside because it is not in use. For example, you might have opted to cover it with a large tarp and a piece of plywood on top since you’re not going to be using it for the next several months. It goes without saying that before the summer season or warmer weather months start to kick in, you need to uncover your AC unit before you use it. If the whole thing is wrapped up, of course, your air conditioner is not going to be working right. If you are wondering whether your AC unit should be wrapped up at all, the answer is that it is up to you. The unit was designed to be outdoors anyway so a little wind and rain are not going to hurt it. The only time you should definitely cover your AC unit is if the section where the unit is placed has icicles forming at the top of the roof. If the icicles are likely to fall on your AC unit, then it is probably best to protect it.
- Test Run Your AC Unit Before Going Full Speed – If your AC has not been in use for a while, take your AC for a test run before you go full speed. In other words, don’t wait until it gets really hot before you turn on the AC. It’s always a good idea to turn your AC on early and let it run for a while. This will allow you to check that everything is working as it should and everything is running smoothly. If there is something that is not working, this gives you some buffer time in between to get the unit fixed before you really need to use it. There is nothing worse than needing some relief on a boiling hot summer day only to realize that your AC is not working and you’re sweating up a storm inside your home.
- Give Your Fan A Boost Before You Start – It can get extremely chilly outdoors during the winter and since the unit sits outdoors the whole time, it is going to bear the brunt of the elements it is exposed to. Your AC unit has a big fan that sits right at the top, and when that fan is not regularly in use, it will seize up during the winter when it gets frosty. You’ll notice this when you turn it on for the first time after a couple of months and the fan either spins very slowly or not at all when the compressor is on. Now, this maintenance tip is easy to fix. All you need is a stick that is long enough or a screwdriver. Stick it through the grates and give your fan a little boost to get it spinning before you fully turn the unit on. You want to do this a couple of times once the weather starts warming up. That way, when the time comes for you to actually use your AC unit, your unit’s fan should spin smoothly with no problems.
- Check Your Condensation Drain Line – Your condensation drain line is going to be located at the section where your AC unit runs inside your house. The pipes and wires of the big box outside your house have to go somewhere after all. Now, the condensation line is going to be connected with a hose. As preventative maintenance, what you would need to do is blow that hose out using compressed air to flush out any gunk that might have built up in there. Another form of maintenance you could do with the hose is to take it off completely and unscrew the fitting. Check if the fitting is plugged up too and if it is, a quick clean should do the trick.
It’s easy to keep your AC running in tip-top shape for as long as possible with a few simple, do-it-yourself maintenance tips. These are easy enough for any homeowner to carry out.