Do you want to make this year’s summer comfortable and heat-free?
It’s that time of the year again, and we can imagine all the drawbacks of the beautiful summer months. If you’re lucky, it may mean that it’s time to start draining and cleaning the pool. Otherwise, until the COVID-19 threat has passed, everyone’s stuck at home, dreaming of the beach.
In case you’re already stressed out from the coronavirus situation, you don’t want to hear of a broken AC, too. In this guide, we’ve got AC maintenance tips for you. Keep reading to find out more about maintaining your AC unit.
1. Clean and Clear the Condenser
A central component of your AC’s efficiency is the outside unit. That’s where your condenser or compressor is. Before you start using your AC, it’s always a good idea to clean everything up first, including the outdoor unit.
You may keep the outdoor unit in an environment where plant matter and dirt may accumulate. Or you may live in an apartment while your outdoor unit is on the balcony. No matter where it is, you must clean it.
Clean the coils by unscrewing and removing the grill or top panels. Get all the dirt and debris out first before you brush or use a gentle vacuum on it. Make sure not to tug any of the wires connected to the fan if you lift the top or side panel.
You can also take a hose with a trigger nozzle. Make sure you don’t bend the fins or spray water on electrical components. Avoid flooding the inside and use a garbage bag to keep sensitive bits protected from the water.
2. Control the Heat Entering Your Home to Avoid Constant Use
Last year, the New York Times reported a rise in heat-related deaths. In Nevada and Arizona, the deaths went up fivefold and tripled, respectively. Despite the mending atmosphere due to COVID-19, we’re expecting a warmer summer this year.
Thus, you’re likely to keep your AC turned on and in a powerful mode most of the time. However, this constant running can make your system lose efficiency and break faster. It’s better to keep your use moderate and to let the AC system take a break now and then.
Help cool your home by replacing cracked weather stripping around doors and windows. Take out heavy or blackout curtains and use them to block out any solar heat coming from the windows. Invest in a smart thermostat which will let you control your AC from your phone or set cooling schedules.
3. Realign and Fix Bent Fins
When you’re cleaning the outdoor unit, make sure not to bend the fins or condenser coils. They dent with ease and are delicate bits of the AC outdoor unit. Take a soft-bristle brush when you clean the outdoor unit, especially the fins.
If you bend them, you can straighten them with a certain tool. A fin comb is a tool made for this very purpose, and they’re perfect for small air conditioners. Make sure you wear gloves so you don’t get any cuts from repairing bent fins.
If you don’t have a fin comb, you can also use a knife to straighten the fins. However, be very careful when you insert a knife between the fins. You don’t want to insert a knife over a one-half inch into the outdoor unit.
4. Change the Air Filter
One of the most important steps of AC maintenance is changing the filter. Remember, your AC unit doesn’t only bring in cool air. It also collects old air to move back into the system.
Before that old air gets released into a room, it goes through an air filter that captures pollutants. As time passes, your air filter gets filled with allergens and dust that cause it to clog up.
If an AC unit functions with a clogged filter, it can break or become inefficient. Thus, you need to change your air filter often. On average, you want to change air filters at least once a month during the summer.
5. Inspect and Clean the Ductwork
Another useful tip to maintain your AC unit is to inspect the ducts and connectors before you put it in use. Look for loose spots or damaged areas. Any gaps or obstructions in the ductwork can cause the airflow in the unit.
If your home is prone to rodents and other pests, there’s a chance they nested or burrowed in the ductwork of your AC unit. If you turn it on without checking, it can lower the quality of the air in your home. You’ll be breathing air that passed droppings and rodent nesting materials.
Make sure to clean all the ducts and to reconnect them well. If there are gaps, try to remedy them, or call for air conditioning repair services. Leaks in the ductwork affect the efficiency of the system as well.
6. Check the Coolant Lines
If you’ve cleaned the outside unit, you’ve likely noticed lines with insulation tubes on them. These are the coolant lines, which often have foam coolant line insulation. These bits of cylindrical foam help prevent the refrigerant pipes from losing energy.
Check the foam insulation for missing or frayed bits. Since it’s outside, there’s a chance that some curious critters tried to gnaw at it. Replace damaged coolant lines or DIY insulation sleeves using spiraled foam insulation tape.
7. Test Your Thermostat Before the Summer Begins
If you can’t get a smart thermostat, the best thing you can do is to watch your thermostat. Before that, you want to make sure that it’s working right. If it isn’t, take it as a sign that it’s time to upgrade.
Don’t work with a bad thermostat because it can cause problems. Your AC unit either functions with inadequate cooling or short-cycling. Check your thermostat by taking a thermometer to measure the room temperature.
If they have the same reading, your thermostat is okay. If they’re different even by one degree, your thermostat is not accurate. Talk to a professional right away before the summer rolls in.
Practice Proper AC Maintenance to Stay Comfortable
During times like the COVID-19 pandemic when everybody needs to stay at home, it can be difficult to find ways to cool off. The situation can get worse too if your AC unit breaks down in the middle of the season.
The key to a healthy AC unit is proper and frequent maintenance.
Those are our 7 top tips for maintaining your AC unit. We hope you found this guide on AC maintenance useful. If you want to see other helpful guides like this, don’t hesitate to read more of our content right here, today!