Air Conditioner Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Posted On: July 10, 2013

Picture this: you’re a proud new homeowner and you’ve just installed a new air conditioning system. Or maybe you’re renovating your home and chose to install a central air conditioning system. Either way, you carefully selected which HVAC system was best to cool your home during the summer months. But now what?

A professional should tune-up your AC unit once a year before the summer season, but you can manage your cooling system’s efficiency and expand its lifespan by doing easy maintenance yourself. Checking on your air conditioner monthly will pay off in the long-run – both financially and in terms of the comfort of your home.

After you shut off the power to your air conditioner, these indoor and outdoor tips for maintenance should only take you an hour or two. If you prefer to let a professional do the job – contact us at Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We’ll send an experienced professional – with ensured quality customer service and expert industry knowledge – to inspect and repair your unit (if needed).

Inside DIY Maintenance on your Air Conditioner

The easiest AC maintenance you can do yourself is to make sure to clean or replace your air filters regularly – once a month is a good start. Dirty air filters can impede air flow, making your air conditioner run at much lower efficiency levels. If filters get too dirty, it could even cause your evaporator to ice up!

Speaking of your evaporator (that’s the indoor part of your central AC unit), if you can see the unit and its coils, remove dust and debris surrounding the machine. If the unit is within reach, use a vacuum and soft-brush hose extension to remove settled dirt and grime. This will help improve air flow and maintain the value of your machine for the long-run.

If you can’t get to your air conditioner inside your home, call an HVAC specialist, like Top Notch, and schedule an in-home tune-up. A professional will also be able to check to see if the condensation coils are clogged by outdoor sludge or algae or are bent and damaged.

Outside DIY Maintenance on your Air Conditioner

One of the easiest things you can do is make sure the outdoor air conditioner unit is not blocked by anything, including leaves, grass clippings, bushes, etc. Your condenser works by transferring the heat from the inside of your house to the outside air. Needless to say, if air can’t get to the condenser, it’s going to have a harder time eliminating the heat from inside.

By removing leaf piles and nearby shrubs, you allow the air to flow better within and from the unit. If your cooling system is working overtime to complete this task, you may be losing hundreds of dollars on your electric bill.

Next, follow these simple steps to clean the protective case and air conditioner condenser unit.

  1. Clear debris (dirt, algae, grass clippings, etc.) that has collected on the outside case. Use a vacuum to remove what has accumulated externally.
  2. Straighten fins (the metal bars running vertically along the outside). You can use a dinner knife with gentle pressure to straighten fins that have been warped from weathering. Be careful not to insert the knife more than half an inch.
  3. Remove the top fan by unscrewing the grille on top of the machine.
  4. Without extending any of the wires, you can set the fan to the side and pull out any leaves or debris that has accumulated inside this unit.
  5. Use a garden hose to clean the fins and gate (using moderate water pressure). To avoid corrosion in your air conditioner later on, spray the hose from the inside to the outside.

Once this process is complete, carefully reattach the fan and turn on the power to your AC system. If your unit can breathe properly, it doesn’t have to work harder than it has to in order to cool down your home in the summer heat.

If notice any of the following problems, your unit will likely need professional repair services:

  • Warm air coming from your vents
  • AC compressor leaking or freezing
  • Strange noises from compressor
  • Inconsistent temperature between rooms
  • Damaged or leaking coils

Annual Professional Air Conditioner Tune-Up

Your air conditioner needs to be tuned-up annually by a professional. There are numerous benefits to an air conditioner tune-up – both financial and timely. Not only can an annual AC tune-up save you as much as 30 percent on your monthly energy costs, but it could also save you hundreds of dollars (and hours of stress!) by identifying and letting you fix any potential issues with your air conditioning system before they become major problems.

Many times these tune-ups are the only way to spot potential problems with your air conditioner before they cause your whole system to break down.

Our trained HVAC experts can help locate problems with:

  • Voltage and current measurements on motors
  • Thermostat calibration
  • Airflow tests and corrections
  • Safety checks

If you need an AC tune-up in Kansas City, contact Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today! We know the ins and outs of all makes, models, and brands of air conditioners to make sure your cooling system is operating efficiently throughout the Kansas City and Lenexa, KS areas.

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