Maintain Your Central A/C
Posted Monday, July 21, 2014
Your home’s air conditioner needs a regular tune-up just like your car does. If you don’t know much about air conditioners, here are some quick tips and facts:
Your home’s air conditioner consists of three main parts:
- The compressor: It’s the large outdoor unit which is usually on the side of your house or behind the garage. It compresses the refrigerant, or Freon®, into a liquid that then evaporates, resulting in cooling.
- The blower unit: Pushes the air throughout the system.
- The ductwork: Circulates the air. Cool air is carried into the home; warm air is exhausted.
Anything having to do with refrigerant should be left to professionals. So hire someone to inspect the refrigerant.
Here are several do-it-yourself tune-up tasks for your home’s air conditioner:
- Change the air conditioner filters: Schedule a day each month to change your filter. It can be the first, the fifteenth or any day you will remember each month, just pick a date so you do not forget. Check the number on the filter that is already in the system, and buy the same size when it needs to be replaced.
- Check for debris: After you change the filter, walk around the outside unit and check for obstructions. Clear any leaves or debris that might be caught in the grate. Cut back bushes that may be preventing airflow to the unit. There should be two feet of clear space around the unit.
- Check the condensate removal system: Condensation occurs when warm air passes through the cooling coil. That condensation drips to a drain or a pan under the unit. If there is a pan, you need to empty it as it gets full.
- Clean the compressor: The outdoor unit will get dirty and need cleaning, at least annually. Make sure you shut off the power to the unit before beginning. You can then hose off the dirt.