While air conditioners are very reliable, they can be prone to breakdowns due to age or other factors. That’s why it’s important to check if your air conditioning (AC) unit is working properly before the hot weather hits. After all, there’s nothing worse than turning on your AC unit during a hot day only to be greeted by more hot air.
We will look at some common air conditioner maintenance tips that will help you do just that. Most are so simple you can DIY them yourself, helping you save money.
Is Your Air Conditioning Working?
The first port of call in air conditioner maintenance is to check whether your AC unit is working or not. Thankfully, there are certain signs that you will notice when your air conditioner is not functioning properly. Some of the most common ones include:
- The air conditioner stops blowing cold air. This is by far the most common tell-tale sign that your air conditioner is not working. Simply turn it on and adjust the temperature and check if it’s blowing cold air.
- Poor airflow. Another sign that your AC unit is not functioning properly is insufficient airflow. This may be caused by several things, with the main one being a blocked filter.
- Inconsistent cycles. No matter the weather, your AC unit must go through regular cycles—it shouldn’t cycle on and off frequently.
- Water leaks. Air conditioners rely on refrigerants to cool your home, and the cooling process leads to condensation. However, there should be no sign of water or refrigerant pooling around your air conditioner.
- Unusual noises. Besides the low-level noises AC units make when starting up or shutting down, they should operate silently. Any noises coming from your unit is a sign of a problem.
- Strange smells. Microbial growth and debris accumulating in the ducts can lead to strange smells coming from your AC. Sometimes faulty wiring can also result in the plastic insulation around the wires burning, producing a smoky smell. All these are cause for concern.
In short, when checking if your AC is working, check for any strange sounds, sights, and smells in and around your AC. Also, check for operational inconsistencies.
Essential Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips
Keeping your AC unit running smoothly is a matter of taking some proactive steps in ensuring everything is in tip-top condition. This will save you from the disappointment of your AC packing up when you need it most. Here are a few air conditioner maintenance tips to help you do that:
Inspect and Change Your Filter Regularly
AC units come with air filters to ensure they blow clean air into the room. With time, the air filter can become clogged. That’s why you must regularly check for debris, insects, and other objects. Besides reducing the amount of cold air being blown into the room, a clogged air filter can lead to your AC unit overworking and, thus, causing damage to other components.
Because of the amount and sensitive nature of the work air filters do, it’s essential that you change them regularly. Check your manual to know how often you should get a new filter.
Keep the Condensate Drain Tube Clear
The condensate drain tube is an essential component of an AC unit, as it drains excess water from the unit. Sometimes it can clog due to various reasons such as algae growth. Do some preventative maintenance by regularly flushing the drain tube using a small amount of bleach. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up any debris stuck in the drain tube.
Clean the Air Conditioner Coils
An air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils collect dirt over time. While a clean filter can help minimize this, they still do get dirty. The dirt insulates the coil and leads to a reduction in the air conditioner’s efficiency. Make it a habit to check your evaporator coil every year, particularly just before summer, and clean it as necessary.
Comb the Coil Fins
AC units have aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils. These can easily bend and block airflow through the coil. Use a “fin comb” to restore the fins back to their original position. Remember, these are sensitive, so be careful as you do it.
Check Your Thermostat
Occasionally, your AC unit woes can be attributed to the thermostat. It could be something as simple as dead batteries or the settings being set to auto. Test your AC thermostat by adjusting the settings and checking if there is a corresponding change in temperature. Sometimes, however, it can be a more complicated problem, and you may need to call for professional help.
Don’t Forget Your Outdoor Unit
Regularly check if the outdoor unit is working properly. You can easily tell by observing if the fan is working. Other tips include keeping it clean––vacuuming with a soft-bristle brush will do the trick––and keeping it covered during winter.
The Benefits of Professional AC Repair and Installation
While you can easily maintain your AC unit using these AC maintenance tips, it’s essential to get a professional HVAC technician to come and service your AC. This will help prolong the life of your air conditioner and ensure your AC runs at optimum. Ultimately, proactive maintenance will also save you money in the long run.
So, whether you need someone to help you with your AC maintenance tasks or repairs, make sure to get in touch with us at 760-327-8718. And, yes, despite our name, we’re on call 24/7.