The warm weather you dreamed about all winter long has finally arrived. Everything looks better without its quilt of ice and snow, but the warmth that brought your yard back to life is also hard at work heating up your house, and if you aren’t prepared to combat the rising temperatures with a solid counterpunch of AC, your summer days at home are going to be uncomfortable and muggy. Before the heat gets out of control, take an afternoon to do some quick maintenance on the AC rig and make sure everything is in working order. This will pay huge dividends once the summer really starts to steam up and will make sure you and your family stays cool when you return from your days spent out in the sun.
- Evaporator Hygiene: The majority of central air conditioning systems are going to be made up of two main units—the condenser and the evaporator—so when performing AC maintenance, the evaporator is a good place to start, as it is the unit commonly found inside the house. In order to locate the evaporator, simply find the home furnace and the evaporator coil should be located in the duct right above it. Once located, you can get to work on cleaning this portion of the system. This should be done once a year before summer to ensure optimum functioning. The first obstacle you will encounter is the foil, but this a breeze to overcome since it’s usually just taped on. Unscrew the access plate that lies beneath the foil and clean the bottom of the evaporator with a brush. If it’s hard to reach the entire surface, you can slide the unit out a bit as long as you’re careful not to overstress the joining tubes. Then, to cap it off with one last expert touch, put a tablespoon of household bleach into the weep-hole as this effectively stunts the growth of any unwanted fungi.
- Coiled and Clean: While the complexities of modern day air conditioners mean a trained professional is needed for certain types of maintenance, the outdoor coils of the condenser are another area that you can take care of yourself with only a garden hose and a quick trip to the hardware store. Pick up (or order online) a can of air conditioner cleaner, as well as a pair of rubber gloves and glasses (if you don’t own them already.) Next, make sure that the unit is powered off and apply the cleaner to the coils. Finally, after the cleaner has had some time to soak and perform its magic, take out the household hose and spray it all down to leave the coils fresh and ready to fill your home with an ice-cold breeze.
- Filter Fresh: There’s huge upside to making sure your home air conditioning system is always outfitted with a fresh filter, but it seems like this small step goes overlooked by most people who rely on AC units to keep their homes cool. Besides keeping the air in your home cleaner and better to breathe, having a good filter cuts down your energy costs by improving evaporator efficiency and, in turn, saves you a good chunk of change during hot summer months. Filters on central AC units are located somewhere along the length of the return duct and most often can be found in the furnace piece itself. After having located the filter, it is as simple as cleaning the filter, if it’s reusable, or ordering a new one if it’s disposable. Be sure to also check with your AC technician before completing the replacement because, if available, a filter upgrade is a great way to get even better performance out of your home rig.
TIP: Use WD-40® Multi-Use Product to protect outdoor AC components from rusting.