Your home is an investment, and each part of your house contributes to its overall value. Maintaining your home's basic systems like heating, ventilation and air conditioning can go along way in not only keeping your family comfortable but also protecting the worth of your home. All air conditioner manufacturers recommend regular annual maintenance on central air conditioning systems. Here are a few additional steps you can take to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
1. Clean Your Air Filter.
When your the filter for your air conditioner becomes clogged with dust and other debris, it can reduce energy efficiency by up to 15%. Cleaning and replacing your filters is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure your air conditioner's efficiency. Depending on the type of air filter your system requires, you may have to either clean or replace it every other month (more often if your air conditioner faces dusty conditions or excessive fur and dander from shedding pets). You can find your central air conditioner filter located in the return duct, the wall, ceiling, or furnace.
2. Clean Your Outdoor Condensing Unit
Outdoor condenser coils are also vulnerable to dirt, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris build up. This debris reduces airflow and creates a thin layer of insulation around the coil, limiting its heat absorption capabilities. If it's been a while since you last inspected your condensing coils, take a look. Be sure to clear out the area surrounding your unit to promote airflow and limit foliage interfering with your coils.
3. Clear out your AC drain.
Air conditioners dehumidify the air and drain the moisture through a condensate drain. This drain should be cleaned once a year to prevent mildew or mold. An AC Repair technician can clear your drain with a high powered vacuum if it is in need of a thorough cleaning, but in the meantime, experts recommend that homeowners pour white distilled vinegar down the line to clean clogs. Be sure to rinse the vinegar away with clean water to eliminate any odors.
4. Clean the evaporator.
Your unit's evaporator should be cleaned at least once a year. Remove the screws and access plate (located underneath the foil insulation) and clean the underside of the evaporator with a utility brush. The tray underneath the evaporator should be cleaned with a distilled vinegar or bleach solution to prevent mildew.
When it comes to air conditioning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking small steps to maintain your HVAC unit can go a long way in protecting your HVAC system's durability and effectiveness.
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