1Maintenance tips for your central air conditioning system
A central air conditioning system is the most efficient way to keep a home evenly cool and comfortable. Properly maintaining your central air conditioning system is important to energy conservation and the prevention of costly repairs.
2Clean/replace the air filter in your furnace or air handler.
The furnace or air handler’s air filter
has the important job of removing dust and dirt from the air. A dirty air filter restricts air flow and causes the unit to work harder and waste energy. It may also lead to a failure of the blower motor.
3Inspect the condensing unit for nests.
Mice, birds, insects and other wildlife are known to make a home inside of the condensing unit. Find a new home for the wildlife and remove any nests or hives.
4Clear debris from inside of the condensing unit.
It’s extremely important to keep condenser coils free from debris to allow good airflow over the coils which dissipate the heat.
From the inside of the condensing unit, use a garden hose with a steady stream to push out leaves, grass clippings, twigs, pollen and other debris that are stuck between the aluminum fins surrounding the coils. With care, you can also use a refrigerator condenser coil brush
to gently remove the debris from the coils. Be careful not to bend over the delicate, aluminum fins.
5Clear debris from outside of the condensing unit.
Trim or clear shrubs and tree branches so that there is at least two feet of clear space around the unit and at least eight feet of clearance above the unit. This space will ensure that there is adequate air flow into the sides and out of the top of the unit.
6If you have pets, install a garden fence around the perimeter of the unit.
Additionally, pet urine can be extremely damaging to a condensing unit. Consider installing a small wooden garden fence around the perimeter of the unit, allowing for a two-foot clearance. This will deter pets from marking their territory too close to the unit.
7Check the ductwork throughout your home.
Take a cruise around your home and inspect the registers. Make sure there are no rugs obstructing the air flow. Open the registers and check for any fallen objects, especially if you have small children. Children are known to drop small toys, coins, Q-tips and other items into floor registers. If you suspect a mold problem within your ducts, consider hiring a company that specializes in mold abatement.
8Thoroughly inspect ductwork in your attic or basement.
You might also consider checking the ductwork in your attic or basement. The connections and seams should be sealed tightly so that no cold air escapes and the ductwork should all be well insulated. You can buy caulk for this purpose from home improvement stores.
9Power on the system and test.
After you’ve completed the above steps, power the system on at the circuit breaker and thermostat and complete the following:
• Test system controls: Run the air conditioner through a start and stop cycle to ensure its safe operation and that it powers off properly.
• Check your thermostat: Make sure that your thermostat is set to the appropriate temperature for your family’s needs.