When it’s hot outside, the last thing you want to have happen as a homeowner is for your air conditioner to go out. We’ve all been there. You turn on your AC and it sputters a bit, but no air comes out and you’re left sweaty and frustrated. You don’t need to be a certified tech to tackle some of these basic maintenance tasks that will help you maintain a healthy system. Of course, if you don’t think you’re handy enough to take care of it on your own, we recommend finding a pro to advise you along the way.
If you do handle some of the maintenance, always observe safety precautions. And, before you perform any work on your outdoor unit, shut down the power at your electrical box.
- Examine the Thermostat
This may be the easiest task for air conditioner maintenance. Just check your thermostat to make sure it
works properly and keeps your home at a constant comfortable temperature. The thermostat is likely going to be your first indication that something is wrong. If your home is reading warmer that the set temperature, there’s something wrong. If you have an older, mechanical thermostat, consider upgrading to a smart, programmable model. A smart thermostat allows you to set the temperature higher when no one is home; it doesn’t turn the air conditioner off, just up. And it can cool the house down about 30 minutes before people arrive home for the evening. By doing this, you’ll always have a comfortable home waiting for you and you’ll save energy and money by not having your air conditioner running when no one is there. Want to really maximize savings? Get a smart thermostat that monitors and reports your energy use. Then set daily schedules for cooling your home, test the results, and pocket the savings!
- Clean or Replace Air Filters
Replacing your air conditioner’s filter (or cleaning it if you have a reusable filter) is one of the most important air conditioner maintenance chores but the most often missed. We encourage you to change your filter monthly and some HVAC experts say bi-monthly for households that have pets in the summer months when shedding is heavier.
You can find most air filters:
- Behind the return air grille on a wall or ceiling in a central room of the house.
- Inside the blower compartment of the air handler or furnace.
- In a slot on the side, bottom or top of your furnace.
When the filter becomes full of dust, dirt and allergen particles, airflow decreases. This makes your system work harder than it should. Air flowing through your system may also become dirtier and dustier, impacting your indoor air quality and triggering allergy and asthma symptoms for those living in the home.
You should be installing a high-quality pleated air filters. Inexpensive fiberglass air filters won’t capture smaller particles like pollen, bacteria, and viruses and likely wont last the full 30 days. Air filters are measured by MERV standards. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Why does the MERV rating matter? The higher the MERV rating, the more airborne pollutants the filter will capture. Residential filters range from 1 MERV, such as what might be found in a window unit air conditioner, to 12 MERV, which is considered superior for residential use.
If you have family members with allergy and asthma problems; own pets; live in a dusty region; or have other similar indoor air quality challenges, consider upgrading to a filtration system that does more.
- Clean Your Air Ducts
Cleaning the air ducts in your home is like having the plaque scraped from clogged arteries. Having a clear path always makes the heart pump more efficiently. When your air ducts become full of dust, dirt and allergen particles, airflow decreases. This means that all that stuff you don’t want to breathe in isn’t being pulled in through your returns and into your filter as it should be. You’ll notice an increase in dust and may feel more of the effects of breathing in pollen, dust and dust mites.
Some of the benefits to cleaning your air ducts are:
- Breathe easier with clean and sanitized air ducts: the process eliminates dust, dirt and allergen particles as well as reduces bacteria, viruses and other contaminants.
- Clean condenser coils to improve system efficiency and extend the life of your AC unit.
- Lowers your overall maintenance costs for your unit and duct work for the life of your unit.
Here at Daffy Ducts, we are CRAZY ABOUT YOU! Our mission is to inspire trust in our customers, partners, and teammates through providing a simple and seamless service experience from start to finish by being attentive, informative, caring, and clean! We began our journey to become experts in home air quality in 2007 and have been getting bigger and better ever since! Our service offerings now include duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, blown-in attic insulation, and whole home air purification with even more to come. We service residential (single-family & multi-family) and commercial customers and with our headquarters centrally located in Snellville, GA. We invest heavily in our team members with industry leading training and certifications and top of the line equipment. Our employees SHOW CARE every day, putting safety first and working with passion and integrity. We are proud to serve our community and to show how we are CRAZY ABOUT YOU!
- Clean the Outside Unit
Over time, leaves, dirt and grass clippings build up outside the air conditioner unit; this decreases the system’s capacity and reduces airflow. It’s also why maintenance for the outside unit couldn’t be more important.
- First, shut off power to the unit. You can do that at the service disconnect on your outdoor unit or at your home’s main breaker panel.
- Then, use a garden hose to gently wash out the debris. Start at the top, with the hose at about a 45-degree angle and work your way down.
- Do not use a power washer — otherwise, you could damage the unit. And take care not to bend or damage the delicate fins on the coil.
- Aluminum cooling fins on an air conditioner compressor must be straight for the unit to cool efficiently. If yours aren’t, here’s how to repair bent air conditioner compressor fins — it’s a Simple Solution to a common problem!
While you’re cleaning and making minor repairs on the outdoor unit, go ahead and trim any shrubs or other plants around your air conditioner. This will prevent them from impeding airflow to and from the unit.
- Check the Condenser Unit’s Fan
Your air conditioner can’t cool your home very well if the condenser unit’s fan blades are in poor shape. That’s why it’s important to know their condition.
- To do this, turn the power off to your air conditionerunit and check the fan mounted on top of the outside condenser unit to make sure it’s still in good shape.
- Replace the fan blades if there are any cracks or chips visible in one or more of the blades. You can purchase fan blades online from Amazon and air conditioner supply websites.
- But first, make sure the blades fit your condenser unit. Most online stores have a list of compatible systems or will prompt you to type in the condenser’s model number to make sure it’s a match.
- Also, if you have an older air conditioner unit, you may need to oil the fan motor bearings regularly.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable with this type of maintenance, just ask your local HVAC professional to include this in your bi-annual checkup.