Keep Heat At Bay: Maintenance For Your AC Unit

Your home should be a refuge from summer heat, but if you do not take good care of your AC unit, it can break down when you need it most. While some wear is inevitable, you can improve the function of your AC unit and reduce wear by properly maintaining it.   

Replace your Filter

While replacing your filter should be common sense, failure to do so can have some surprising effects. For example, a clogged filter will restrict the flow of air through your evaporator coils, and if there is not sufficient airflow, your coils can get so cold that they freeze any moisture in the air in your home. As ice forms on your coils, the lack of airflow can cause your system to run and run without ever cooling your home. To reduce unnecessary wear to your system, you change your filter on schedule. 

Clean Those Coils

In a central-air AC system, you will have a set of condenser coils located on the outside of your home. Because your coils are exposed to the elements, dust, grime, yard debris, and garbage can coat your coils. As the layer of grime on your coils gets thicker and thicker, it can restrict and finally cut off the flow of air through the coils. When this happens, the condenser coils will not be able to convert vaporized refrigerant back to a liquid. Your system will continue to run without cooling your home at all. Thus, you should inspect your coils regularly, and when necessary clean them. To clean your coils do the following:

1. Remove the protective grid that covers the coils.

2. Spray a commercially available coil cleaner on the fins that make up the coils and give the solvents in the cleaner at least five minutes to break down the grime coating the coils. 

3. Scrub your coils with a stiff-bristle brush. 

4. Rinse the coils with a gentle stream of water from your hose. 

5. Use a fin comb to straighten any bent coils. 

6. Put the protective grid back in place. 

You can improve your system efficiency by up to 30% simply by cleaning your coils. 

Replace a Blown Capacitor

To increase system efficiency. modern AC units will use a capacitor to store energy. It takes less energy to keep a fan running than to start the fan initially. Thus, a burst of electricity from a capacitor gives a motor the boost it needs get a fan moving, and a smaller motor uses less electricity over the long haul. The problem is that high temperatures can cause the capacitor to give out. The more your system has to run, the more strain is placed on the capacitor. Thus, replacing your filter and keeping your coils clean will help to decrease capacitor problems. To repair a blown capacitor, you have to access the fan motor, so it is typically best to call a repair person to replace the capacitor. 

Maintaining an AC system is not difficult, but it is necessary. Besides improving your system efficiency, maintaining your AC unit will help to decrease wear and, thus, decrease your repair costs. For further assistance, contact a professional, such as one from Dale's Heating & Appliance.