With summer ending in The Bay Area, now is an ideal time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.
If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be full of mud and yard refuse. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out faster.
We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility bills.
Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and address slight issues before they develop into high-priced problems.
Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing
Some of the work we do involves:
- Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
- Checking pressure and temperature
- Reviewing lines, refrigerant levels and connections
There’s still time to have service 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 components on your indoor HVAC system.
Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?
How to Clean Your Outside AC Unit
Pick a temperate day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can test your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.
You’ll only need a handful of things:
- 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 Clean the Outside Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Cut the juice to your air conditioner at the breaker box.
2. Clean the Outside
Remove waste from the equipment. 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 move heat away from your unit.
You need to be cautious with these fine coils. Warped or crinkled fins can influence efficiency.
3. Fix Bent Fins
Use a butter knife to straighten bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance part website. A pro from Contra Costa Heating & AC should take care of large amounts of damage.
4. Clean the Inside
After taking out the fan, fish out leaves and other yard waste. Then wipe the inside of the system with a wet cloth.
The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, directing water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re finished.
5. Test Your Air Conditioner
Now it’s time to 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
Three Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Turn off the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.
2. Check Your Filter
Furnace filters should be exchanged every few months, depending on the model you use.
Can’t remember when you last put in a new one? Take it out and tilt it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, get 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can clean it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the tube.
Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up the drain tube and restore power.
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 convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your routine tune-up!