It wasn’t too long ago that homeowners deemed air conditioning a luxury. Today, we view it as a necessity that facilities our comfort and improves the air quality within our homes. While we’re focusing on the cool air these systems deliver, there’s plenty going on behind the scenes. Filters, coils, and fins all need to be maintained to keep these units working efficiently. Take a look at the proper steps that help ensure your system is performing optimally.
Clean or change your air filter
The air filter prevents particles like dirt, dust and pet dander from circulating through the rooms of your home. But if your filter is clogged, air is blocked, which means your unit isn’t delivering that frosty blast you’re counting on to cool you down. Depending on your system, you’ll want to either replace or clean its filters on a regular basis. According to Energy.gov, replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one has the potential to lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent, which can mean a significant savings in your utility bill.
Clean the coils
Air conditioners have evaporator and condenser coils, which collect dirt over time. Similar to a clogged air filter, once their coils become coated with dirt, they’re less able to capture heat from the air inside your home, which means airflow decreases while humidity increases. You’ll want to clean these at least once a year. If you notice light amounts of dirt, you can use compressed air to clean these coils. You can also remove dust and dirt with a brush. Or, for ample amounts, try a foam to liquefy dirt easily.
Condenser coils release the heat captured by the evaporator coils into the air around the air conditioner’s outside unit. Depending on where this unit rests, it may collect dirt and debris from nearby trees or shrubs. You can clean these with a brush as well. Or, choose a coil cleaner that will loosen dirt build-up.
Straighten Coil Fins
Evaporator and condenser coils have aluminum fins that are easily bent, which can block airflow. To restore these fins to their original position, purchase a fin comb and straighten.
Consider hiring a professional
If you’re unsure about how to care for your unit, contact a professional who can perform routine maintenance for you. An expert may be able to spot and fix problems before they arise, giving you peace of mind and keeping you cool when the weather heats up.
Cover or store your unit
If you have a window unit, you’ll want to remove it and store it for the cool weather months to prevent heat loss. If your unit is outside your home, cover it to protect it from the elements and debris.
Making sure your air conditioning system is well cared for can be the key to keeping comfort as temperatures rise.