Maintain Your Pipes and Your Business

Regular Maintenance Can Help Keep Your Air Conditioner Cool And Efficient

by Sheila Vasquez

A properly running air conditioner can mean the difference between comfort and misery in hot weather. And beyond that, in extreme conditions, an air conditioner can help prevent serious conditions like heatstroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using an air conditioner is the best way to prevent heat-induced illness and death.

To keep your air conditioner from going out when you need it most, maintenance is key. By keeping up with the following tasks, you can help your air conditioner run properly and efficiently. And if this maintenance seems daunting to do yourself, you can always hire a technician like Certified Appliance to clean and check out your unit for you.

Check Filters

Clogged filters can greatly reduce how well your air conditioner operates. Some filters can be cleaned and reused while others must be replaced, so check your owner's manual. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends cleaning or replacing air conditioner filters every month or two.

Clean Coils and Fins

The coils in your air conditioner will collect dirt over time, and the thin fins can block airflow if bent. At least once a year, you should make a point of cleaning the coils and combing the fins. Air conditioner fins can be easily combed back into place with a "fin comb," available at home improvement stores or from air conditioning wholesalers.

To clean the coils, disconnect the air conditioner's power. Open up the unit and, if you have one, use a small vacuum to suck up excess dirt from the coils. Dirt can also be cleared away with a stiff brush. If the coils are still dirty, they can be rinsed with water and mild detergent or with specialized "air conditioner cleaner" available at most home improvement stores. If you use detergent or cleaner, be sure to rinse the coils afterwards unless the cleaner's directions say otherwise.

Unclog Drains

Air conditioners are also, technically, dehumidifiers. As they extract heat from the air, they also draw out moisture, which travels through a condensate drain and ends up outside your home. If the drain becomes clogged, it can lead to excess moisture in your home, which is a risk factor for mold and mildew.

Twice a year, open up the drain line of your air conditioner and either run warm water through it or blow compressed air through it to keep it clear of debris and buildup.

Have Coolant Checked

Each air conditioner has a proper amount of coolant, which is determined by the manufacturer. If your unit has too much or too little refrigerant, it can lower the unit's efficiency or cause it to stop working completely. Coolant levels should be checked by a technician, who can also look for leaks and will be able to dispose of any excess coolant properly.

Hopefully, if you follow these steps, you will be able to get years of use out of your air conditioner without the need for repairs. But if your air conditioner does stop working, be sure to call a technician to have it repaired quickly. It could be more than just your comfort that depends on it.