Whether it is spring or fall, it is important to complete the necessary maintenance to keep your air conditioner running well and using power efficiently. Here are some season maintenance tasks you can complete to ready your AC unit for winter or summer.
Take Care of the Filter
At the end of the summer as you are preparing to winterize your air conditioner's outside unit, take a few minutes to clean or replace the filter. This helps you prepare your AC unit to be used again in the spring and will be one less maintenance task you will need to complete later. It is also a good way to prevent leaving the old and dirty filter inside your blower unit and avoid any mechanical damage to its motor.
Buy a replacement filter if your blower uses disposable filters. If your unit has a reusable filter, use a soft brush to dislodge the debris and dust from the filter while you run it under warm water. Brush and rinse the filter until the water coming from it runs clear. Allow the filter to air dry then replace it into your air conditioner's blower unit. Making sure your air conditioner has a clean filter can lower your unit's energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent when you use it next season.
Cover the Outside Unit
Next, it is a good idea to cover your air conditioner's outside compressor to protect it during the upcoming winter. Select a piece of plywood that covers the entire top of your unit to protect your air conditioner, and use a heavy brick or cement block to hold the plywood in place. This will cover the top of your air conditioner to prevent leaves and debris from falling into the unit and will protect it from any falling ice chunks.
It is not necessary to cover your AC unit with a plastic or other type of tarp covering, as this can harbor pests that can cause damage to your unit's internal wiring and other components. This type of covering can also trap in moisture and cause mold and mildew problems inside the compressor.
Wash Your Outside Unit
In the spring, it is time to get your unit cleaned and ready for use. This includes spraying off the external fins and the condenser coils. The fins and coils can collect dirt, which can reduce their cooling ability and increase your unit's energy consumption.
First, shut the power off to the unit at the external switch on your home or inside your home at the breaker box. Next, remove the screws holding the grill cover and lift the cover from your AC unit to access the fins, compressor, and condenser coils. Use your garden hose with a nozzle attachment to spray the debris from the outside grill of the unit. Spray water onto the interior coils and fins to dislodge debris and dust build-up from the coils and from between the fins. Spray these surfaces from an angle, and it will lift the layer of debris easily. While the unit's grill cover is off, take some time to remove leaves and larger debris that have fallen into the center of the unit.
Repair Fin Damage
The fins on your unit can also become bent and smashed in from flying debris, such as rocks from a lawn mower or weed eater, hail stones, and children's toys. Bent fins will prevent your unit from expelling heat from your home and cooling properly, causing your unit to work harder.
To straighten the fins yourself, you need a fin combing tool, which you can find at most home improvement and air conditioning supply stores. Place the comb into the bottom of your air conditioner's fins and slide the comb up through the fins to straighten them. Continue this process around the AC unit to straighten all its bent fins.
Use these tips to maintain your AC unit in spring and fall. Check out a site like http://calldoctorfixit.com to find a professional who can perform these maintenance tasks for you.