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Cleaning Your Air Conditioner 101
April 28, 2014
The appliances in your home need regular attention to be in the best shape, the air conditioner is no different. Although you still should get your air conditioning unit looked at by a professional at least once a year, there are a few routine maintenance issues that can be addressed by the homeowner to ensure the longevity and efficiency of this appliance.
Devise a Plan
Before doing anything, put together a course of action plan. There are different maintenance projects that will be needed for a room air conditioner than what is needed for a unit that sits outside. Know this beforehand along with what you are capable of accomplishing. Many people have only created more problems by DIY projects gone wrong, which cost more time, damage, and money. Research what you specifically can do, and what will require professional assistance.
The Outdoor Unit
You should wait to clean your air conditioning until until it is at least 60 degrees outside. This is the lowest temperature that the air conditioner can be tested to ensure it is in good working condition. Inspect the outdoor unit, which should be sitting close to your home.
Turn off the main power source at the outdoor shutoff. If you are unsure of how to do this turn off where the AC is connected from your main electric panel. Next use a vacuum to remove the grass, leaves, garbage, and other objects that have clogged the exterior fins. From here you should use a narrow knife to straighten any of the exterior fins that may have become bent. Be careful not to place this in farther than about half an inch to prevent damaging other parts of the air conditioner. When finished remove the fan without damaging or disrupting any of the wiring and then spray from the inside using a pressurized hose.
After the unit has been cleaned pay special attention when putting things back together, ensuring nothing is damaged. Turn the power back on and set the thermostat in your house to cool. This will allow the compressor to come on. After this has been going for at least ten minutes feel the tube that is insulated leading from your home to the unit. It should feel cool while the one that is not insulated should feel warm. If this doesn’t work, you might have a bigger problem on your hands. Turn the thermostat off and wait 24 hours before turning it back to cool and testing it.
A well maintained air conditioning unit will last far longer than one that is poorly looked after. Make sure to perform routine maintenance checks to ensure it will continue running efficiently. In addition to this, a professional cleaning will help keep it running, and can help you determine how much life is left in your air conditioner, or if it is time to upgrade.