Performing HVAC unit care can help keep the system operating efficiently for many years. Regular maintenance also minimizes the risk of a breakdown on the hottest or coldest day.
Remove all debris from the area around the condenser unit, hose down the unit, and trim plant growth within 2 feet of each side to allow for proper airflow.
CHECK THE CONDENSER
The AC condenser, which is located outdoors, transfers heat from your house to the air. Like the evaporator coil, it can become dirty or clogged with debris. This can prevent the flow of refrigerant, causing your system to operate less efficiently.
The fan that cools the condenser can also become clogged with dirt and debris, which can interfere with its work. In addition, the fan may need lubrication. Similarly, the large fan in the compressor can become damaged or fail to work properly because of issues with the relay switch or motor.
To perform a general inspection, first, turn off power to the unit at an exterior shut-off box and the breaker inside. Then, remove the fan cage and clean the condenser and its surface with a brush. Rake back leaves and vegetation to avoid overgrowth, and keep it from covering the condenser completely, which can cause moisture buildup and encourage vermin to nest inside.
CLEAN THE FINS
While it’s a good idea to have your HVAC unit professionally cleaned and checked annually, there are some things that can be done by a handyman for less than an AC specialist. One of these is cleaning the fins.
First, disconnect the unit from power at the electrical breaker and remove large debris like sticks, leaves, twigs, and grass clippings from the coil and surrounding area. Next, use a hose with a moderate stream to rinse the coils, being careful not to damage the fragile fins.
After rinsing, apply a coat of coil cleaner to the fins, following any instructions that may be on the container. You can also comb the fins gently with a fine brush to loosen and remove any dirt buildup. This can also help bring bent fins back to a more normal shape. Make sure to keep your work gloves on and be very gentle when brushing the delicate fins. A fin comb is available for this purpose and can be found at many hardware stores and AC shops.
CLEAN THE AIR FILTER
The air filter within your HVAC system is crucial for stopping dust, germs, viruses, pollen and other contaminants from circulating throughout your home. However, the filter collects a lot of grime over time that needs to be cleaned. If the filter gets too dirty, it can interfere with your air conditioning unit’s performance and cost you extra money to operate.
To clean your filters, start by turning off the unit and removing any covers or vents covering the filter. You should also put on gloves and an N-95 mask for your own protection. Take the filter outside or into a sink that’s large enough to hold the frame, and use the vacuum hose attachment to remove as much of the dirt on the filter as possible.
If you’re using disposable air filters, replace them with new ones after cleaning and allowing them to dry completely. If you have washable filters, keep up with a regular cleaning schedule to prevent a build-up of dirt and grime.
CLEAN THE DUCTWORK
During this process, the technician should start by hooking the vacuum collection device’s large hose to the duct that leads to the air handler-the heart of your HVAC system. Next, they should clean the supply registers and the large return vent that takes dirty air from the rooms and returns it back to the system.
Dirty ductwork spreads fine particulate contaminants like dust, dead skin cells, pet dander, microorganisms from mold and fungus, rodent feces, and more throughout your home. These particles are not only unhealthy, but they can also distribute pathogens that cause chronic illness. Duct cleaning can significantly improve your family’s health. To keep your ductwork in good condition, you should clean the supply grilles with warm water and a sponge in the kitchen sink, and wipe the return vent cover with a damp cloth. Do this every month or two. This will help to prevent dirt build-up inside the ducts. It will also help to reduce the need for duct cleaning.
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