A Homeowner’s Guide to End-of-Summer AC Maintenance
If you’re like most homeowners, you know that your air conditioning system needs to have maintenance performed on it at the beginning of the summer season. However, many homeowners don’t realize that maintenance should be performed on their air conditioning system at the end of the summer as well. There are a number of different tasks that you need to complete to ensure that your system is prepared to last another year.
Change the Air Filter
The first maintenance task that you want to perform is to check the state of your air filter. Go ahead and pull it out of the filter housing. You want to hold the filter up to a light and look through it. If you aren’t able to see through your filter, it’s time to replace it. If you can still see through it, you still have some life left in it.
Although you’ll need to purchase an air filter that is of the same model as your existing filter, you do have some style options. There are four main types of filters that you can get, which include fiberglass, pleaded, reusable, and HEPA filters. Fiberglass filters have the lowest filtering capability, and HEPA filters have the most. Pleated filters are the most commonly used as they have a great filtering capability and are available at an affordable price.
Smell and Listen
We’re sure you’ve had that experience where you walked into somebody’s home or room and get a whiff of a lingering unpleasant odor. However, it seems like the person living there doesn’t even notice that the odor exists. When odors developed over a period of time, they’re harder for us to take notice of. The same thing holds true with sounds that start out very soft and become louder over time.
You’ll want to actively listen to your air conditioning system at both the inside and outside units. Pay attention to any unusual noises like clicking, humming, or buzzing. While you’re checking out these units, you’ll want they have your nose at a heightened level so that you can detect any unusual smells. The smell of garbage, exhaust fans, or even gunpowder can indicate a problem with your system. If you notice any unusual smells or noises, it’s best to get them addressed now so that you don’t have to deal with them at the start of the summer season next year.
Wipe Down the Vents
To circulate air throughout your home, your air conditioning system uses ducting with the vents. There should be at least two different vents in each room of your home. These include the supply vent and the return vent. Due to the constant movement of air in and out of these vents, it’s not uncommon for them to end up getting covered with dust and unwanted debris.
Grab a damp cloth and clean off all the grates of the vents. All the debris that you can clean off of the vents is helping to improve your indoor air by keeping the unwanted debris out of your air. If you’re able to pull your vents out of the wall, you should do so. This will give you more access to clean the entire vent off than if you were to just clean it while it’s still in the wall or floor.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
Next, you want to kill the power to your entire air conditioning system at the circuit breaker. Go ahead and remove the access panel to your indoor air conditioner components and locate the evaporator coil. You’ll want to use a foaming coil cleaner to remove the stuck-on debris. While you can use a regular cleaner on these coils, they’re going to require a lot of elbow grease. By using a foaming cleanser, it will take care of much of the scrubbing for you.
Clean the Condensate Drain
Once all the cleaning foam strips off of your evaporator coils and into your drain pan, it’s time to clean out the drain. It’s a good idea to mix up a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. Simply for this down the drain pan and it will work the remove any stuck-on debris. depending on the amount of debris that is stuck in your drain, you may have to remove some by hand in order to get it completely cleared out.
Clean the Condenser
Now, it’s time to head outside to your condenser unit. You want to start by cleaning up the unit and removing any loose debris. Go ahead and unscrew the condenser grille cover and set it to the side. You should use your hose to spray off the outside grille cover to remove any excess debris that is stuck to it or any of the openings throughout it.
Apply a coil cleanser to your condenser coils. Because your condenser coils are exposed to the outdoor elements, they tend to collect a lot more stuck-on debris than the interior components of your air conditioning system. For this reason, it’s best to purchase a foaming coil cleaner that is specifically designed for outdoor condenser coils.
Next, use your hose to remove the remnants of the coil cleanser and any loose debris that’s inside the unit. If you have a lot of loose debris inside of the unit, you may want to use a vacuum to get rid of it. Make sure that you’re removing any debris that has gotten stuck in between the various fins inside your unit.
Straighten Out Bent Fins
Lastly, you’ll want to straighten out any of the metal fins that have become bent over the summer months. All of your fins should be pointed in a straight direction to allow for optimal heat dispersion from the unit. You can straighten out the fins using a pair of small pliers or a fin comb.
You can purchase a fin comb specifically for your air conditioning system at your local hardware store. This type of comb allows you to straighten out multiple fins at once and provide a cleaner finish than a pair of pliers will. To know the exact fin comb size that you need, you’ll want to count how many fins are within a square inch block of your air conditioning system.
Check the Wiring
As you’re cleaning out the inside and outside units for your air conditioning system, you should be taking note of the state of the wiring inside of both of them. If you notice that any of the wiring is loose, go ahead and tighten it back up. If any of the wiring is corroded or fraying, it’s best to call in an air-conditioning professional to have the issue fixed. By getting the problem addressed now, you can save yourself the trouble of having to wait to get it fixed in the middle of the summertime next year.
Comprehensive AC Service
One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning provides comprehensive air conditioning services for the Sandy region. We’re also capable of assisting you with all of your heating, ducting, and indoor air quality needs. Just pick up your phone and give us a call today.
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