You recently bought your first home after years of living in apartments or with family. While enjoying the first stretches of freedom, you suddenly realize the downside: you are now entirely responsible for the maintenance of your home. The full reality of this might hit one warm summer afternoon when your air conditioner stops working. An air conditioning repair technician can fix the problem, but better maintenance in the future might be able to prevent additional problems.
What are the minimum air conditioner maintenance steps for every new homeowner?
Identify and Change Your Filters
Consult your unit's owner's manual to find out what kind of air conditioner filters the unit takes. If you don't have the owner's manual, look at the condensing unit outside your home for the make and model number. Search for those specifications online and you should find a digital version of the manual.
It's important to look up the type of filter because these can vary greatly between makes and models. You could simply take out your filter and take it into the hardware store for comparison. But if your unit persistently problematic, it's possible a previous owner installed the wrong type of filter.
In addition to identifying the type, you also need to know how often to change the filter and how to clean it if the filter is reusable. As a general rule, disposable filters usually need replacing once a month. And you can clean the reusable filter once a month with a vacuum hose.
Clean Condensing Unit and Coils
The condensing unit outside your home can become clogged with dirt and debris during the winter months when the unit isn't running. This debris can accumulate in the grates of the exterior case, or the dirt can get inside and impede the function of the condenser coils.
Condenser coils play a vital role early on in the cooling process. A gas refrigerant is passed into the coils, which convert the gas to liquid and send it inside your home to the air handler. The evaporator coils in the handler change the refrigerant back to gas and, in doing so, become cold. A fan and vents then suck in your hot room air, blow it across those coils, and then back out into the room. Dirty condenser coils can stop this process before it even starts.
You can knock the larger debris out of the grates using your hand. Turn off the power to the unit and remove the case lid for further cleaning. The coils should be visible lining the interior walls. To clean the coils and case simultaneously, simply aim your hose head through those coils from the inside. The water will pass through the coils and the grate and clean away any accumulated dirt.
For more professional maintenance and support tips, an air conditioning service center like Kook & Son Inc can help.