With summer winding down in The Bay Area, now is a great time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.
If you haven’t washed it lately, it could be blocked with dust and yard refuse. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out more quickly.
We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up once a year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.
Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and take care of slight issues before they become costly problems.
Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing
Some of the work we perform consists of:
- Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
- Watching pressure and temperature
- Examining lines, refrigerant amounts and connections
You can still have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.
There’s also some work you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few parts on your indoor HVAC system.
Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?
How to Clean Your Outdoor AC Unit
Pick a temperate day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can check your system once you’ve cleaned it.
You’ll only need a few tools:
- Wet-dry vacuum and hose with a soft brush attachment
- Butter knife
- Damp rag
- Small, round paintbrush
- Replacement furnace filter (if necessary)
Related: How AC Repair and Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money
Five Steps to Follow as You Clean the Outside Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Cut the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.
2. Clean the Outside
Empty debris from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.
Then run the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These parts are also called condenser coils and transfer heat away from your equipment.
You need to be careful with these delicate coils. Misshapen or crushed fins can influence efficiency.
3. Fix Bent Fins
Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance part retailer. A pro from Contra Costa Heating & AC should take care of severe damage.
4. Clean the Inside
After taking out the fan, pull out leaves and other yard litter. Then wipe the inside of the system with a wet cloth.
The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, directing water from the inside out. Reinstall the fan once you’re done.
5. Test Your Air Conditioner
You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running correctly, reach out to us a call at 510-343-9841.
Related: Air Conditioner Service: Pay a Little Now, Save Later
After, Three Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Cut the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.
2. Check Your Filter
Furnace filters must be exchanged every few months, depending on the kind you use.
Not sure when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t visible, buy a new one.
3. Clean the Inside
Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.
Then examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a pliable plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can clean it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can get a new tube.
Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and turn the power back on.
Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Well Through Fall
Never Forget a Tune-Up Again
Annual air conditioner maintenance from Contra Costa Heating & AC can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also have handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!