Proper care for your air conditioning unit is important, if you want efficient, long-lasting and headache-free reliability and performance. The last thing you want, is for your unit to break down right in the middle of summer, costing you hours, or even days of discomfort. But you don’t have to wait for your unit to physically break down to consider air conditioner cleaning.
This is something that you should do regularly, to ensure that the unit operates optimally, and to avoid any unnecessary breakdowns along the way. The good news is that most maintenance practices are things that you can handle yourself, unless you aren’t particularly handy, in which case you will have to call in the experts. If you are wondering what some of these maintenance practices are, then read below to find out more:
Start by taking care of the unit’s exterior
The first step towards maintaining your air conditioner unit, is to ensure that the unit’s exterior is clean, especially if you have a central outdoor unit. Over time, it is possible for the unit to gather debris, including leaves and twigs, which can cause real trouble if it accesses the interior of the central unit. In addition to taking good care of the unit’s exterior, it is advisable that you keep it in a place with plenty of airflows, to avoid falling leaves and twigs.
Change the filters regularly
When was the last time you changed your air conditioner’s air filters? If you are like most people, they will wait for the annual maintenance team to come and change the filters, perhaps once or twice a year. The filters play a major role in your unit’s operations, and anything that affects them will ultimately impact the functioning of your air conditioner.
With time, the filters do get clogged with dirt, and other debris that ends up hampering the free flow of air through them, ultimately leading to an inefficient unit. As part of your routine maintenance for your unit, it is highly recommended that you change the filters once every 1 – 3 months, based on the air quality in your region. Remember, clogged or dirty filters will not only give you an inefficient system, but you will also see a rise in your energy bills, in addition to increased likelihood of a breakdown, because the filters will be overworking other core components of the unit.
Check the air conditioner fins to ensure they are not bent
Every air conditioner will always have aluminum fins on the exterior. The role of these fins is to help the air conditioner stay cool, and for this reason, it is vital that they don’t get deformed in any way. The fins can easily get deformed as a result of debris smacking against the compressor over time, but this is something that you can easily avoid by ensuring at least one foot of available room on each side of your unit.
When you notice that some of the fins are bent, one of the best things that you can do to restore them, is to run a hand brush along with them, but if they are severely bent, then you may use a butter knife to gently twist them back to their original shapes or position.
Keep the air conditioner on a level ground
This sounds like a simple thing to do, but most homeowners often forget to check that the grounds upon which they are placing their units, are levelled. It is vital for the air conditioner to remain on level ground, because if it leans on one side, the air conditioner will continue to sink on that side. Over time, it may tip over and get disconnected from the refrigerant line, leading to leakages that will not only be harmful to your safety, but also to the environment.
Secondly, when your unit is not on level ground, the air conditioner’s condenser pump may fail to work properly. This is because all the lubricant may end up pooling on one side, hence, not going where it is supposed to go. The result will be premature wear and tear on various components of the unit, leading to regular breakdowns. To avoid these and many other problems, simply ensure that your air conditioning unit sits on firm level ground.
Check out the vibration pads
In the course of their operations, air conditioners usually vibrate a lot, and, in case you haven’t noticed this, then you have the vibration pads to thank. The pads are usually located underneath the vibrator, against the landing surface, and their work is to absorb any excess vibrations produced by the unit. With time, it is possible for the pads to shift out of place or to simply wear out.
Without them, you will not only be inconvenienced by the sound generated by the unit, but the rough vibration against the firm surface may end up causing certain mechanical problems to your unit. Therefore, you should regularly check, to ensure that the pads have not shifted, and that they are still in good condition.
Check the level of the refrigerant
Most people believe that the main reason for checking the refrigerant level, is to see if they have gone down significantly, so that
someone can come and refill it. However, this is not always the case. You want to check the level of the refrigerant to tell whether your unit may have some serious issues. Low levels may suggest that there is a leak within the system, and this could be detrimental for various reasons. When you notice this, you should call an expert for proper diagnostics on why the levels are low.
Consider annual inspection and maintenance
One other thing you have to keep in mind if you truly love your air conditioning unit, is annual inspection and maintenance. Let the technicians come in once or twice per year, and check your unit for potential problems. This will not only enhance the efficiency of your units, but will also significantly reduce the number of service calls you will need to make, as a result of regular breakdowns.