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Basic Air Conditioning Maintenance

Inspect and maintain your air conditioner to keep it running efficiently
and lasting longer

It is never the wrong time of year to inspect an air conditioning unit, but the best time, of course, is before you need it. Most systems are fairly straightforward in design and you should find it easy to perform simple inspections.

You will want to have a look at both outdoor and inside units. Before you begin, turn off the power to your air conditioner at the circuit box. Never perform any type of maintenance on the unit without doing this first.

The outside unit will include these components: condenser coils and fins, fans, and a compressor in the shape of a drum.

Remove the screws on the outside of the unit and lift off the cover. You can hose off the inside, but try to avoid the control panel, which is easily visible. Lift out the filter and clean it with soap and water. If it is too worn or dirty, replace it.

air conditioner

Inspect the coil fins; they look like a metal filter and are situated next to the coil. If any are bent, straighten them with a utility or grooved putty knife. You can also purchase a fin comb at the local home improvement store.

Make sure the shell is also clean. Any dried debris on the panels will prevent airflow and can damage your unit. If you live in an area with cottonwood trees, be extra vigilant in late spring - you may need to remove the fluff on a daily basis.

Replace the unit shell. Make sure the unit has about two feet of clear space on all sides. It also helps to keep the unit out of direct sunlight. Plant bushes on sides at the proper distance. You can also build a small, roofed shed - with two or three sides - around the air conditioner; just be sure the cover is also two feet higher than the unit, along with the sides.

Once you have taken these simple steps for the outside unit, it's time to have a look at the inside unit, which is the furnace portion. You should be able to slide out one section to reach the evaporator coils. Clean these gently with a vacuum cleaner hose and brush.

If you are familiar with the location of the motor, inspect the oil cups that are situated over the bearings. You can squirt in just a few drops of bearing oil, which should have a convenient feeder tube to reach into the small space. Replace the metal plate and you are done.

You have one more inspection to make and that's the filters. This should become a monthly routine if you are not already doing so. Buy several at one time, so you can replace them when they are dirty. In an emergency, you can vacuum the surface, but they should be replaced as soon as possible.

While these tasks are acceptable for the homeowner to perform, you should schedule a maintenance visit from a professional at least every two years and annually if you want to further prolong the life of the system.

Air conditioners and furnaces are designed to last many years with little or no repairs. These simple steps will make sure you get the most out of your heating and cooling investment.

 

 

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