Florida is famous for its long, hot, and humid summers, and your air conditioner will be working hard this season to keep your home cool. Being proactive about your summer AC maintenance ensures your unit is ready to operate smoothly and efficiently all season long. You can perform many important maintenance tasks on your own, keeping your unit functioning properly. Follow our actionable tips below to extend the lifespan of your AC unit, save money, and keep your family comfortable on even the most scorching days.
Cleaning Your Condenser Unit
As your AC system sits idle during the winter, debris such as dirt, dust, leaves, and twigs collect around the base of the condenser unit. The condenser unit is a large fan in a metal box that is usually located outdoors. This accumulation of debris can damage the unit and obstruct airflow, which forces the system to run harder to maintain the desired indoor temperature. It also increases energy consumption by up to 30%.
Cleaning the condenser unit is crucial for keeping your cooling system in optimal condition. Here’s how to clean it yourself, step-by-step. If you prefer, you can have a professional HVAC technician perform this important maintenance step instead. It comes included in AC Design’s Maintenance Program as well.
- Before getting started, turn off the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to the unit. You will also see a weatherproof disconnect box located around the unit that contains a lever, fuses, or a circuit breaker. Turn this off, as well.
- Begin by removing all debris from the exterior with a low-pressure water hose.
- Next, remove the side and top panels of the unit to access the inside of the condenser.
- Use a refrigerator coil brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to gently clean the condenser coils and fins from the outside. Then, vacuum them from the inside.
- Wipe off the blower’s fan blades with a clean rag.
- Remove any excess water inside the unit, then reassemble.
DIY Unit Upkeep and Home Tips
Along with cleaning the condenser unit before turning on your AC, you can also take other simple steps to ensure your unit continues running safely and smoothly throughout the year.
- Clean or replace the furnace or air-handler filters whenever they look dusty, or at least once per month during the summer. These air filters are crucial for maintaining proper indoor air quality. Dirty filters constrict airflow, reduce the efficiency of your unit, recirculate dust into your home, and can cause the condenser coils to malfunction.
- Open the supply vents in every room, clean them, and remove any obstructions, such as furniture, drapes, or rugs. Keeping the vents closed or allowing them to become obstructed creates unnecessary pressure on the ductwork. This forces the air handler to work harder and can waste energy by leaking cool air into the attic or basement.
- Check refrigerant levels. The outside condenser unit should have two copper pipes, the largest of which is covered in insulation. If this pipe does not feel cold to the touch or sweat condensation when the unit runs, this indicates it is running low on coolant. Only a trained HVAC technician should replace the refrigerant.
- Eliminate airflow leaks. Check the AC ducts, connectors, and blower components for loose or damaged areas and have any issues addressed by an HVAC technician. Close your fireplace damper. Look for any gaps in walls, window frames, doorways, and attic entryways, then seal them with insulation, caulking, or rubber flaps.
Join a Professional HVAC Maintenance Program
Although you can perform many routine tasks yourself, it’s better to leave major AC maintenance and repairs to the professionals. Having an experienced AC company in Jacksonville, FL perform bi-annual professional maintenance on your system is crucial for ensuring your air conditioning unit operates at peak efficiency.
At AC Designs, we offer a Preferred Customer Maintenance Program to take care of all your maintenance and repair needs. It includes:
- Two pre-scheduled system checks each year.
- Same-day HVAC services.
- One-day replacement on most parts and units.
- 24-hour emergency services.
- Discounts on diagnostic fees and AC repair.
Our AC company helps customers across St. Augustine, FL, and Jacksonville, FL. Our HVAC techs will thoroughly inspect your unit, test all components to ensure they are functioning properly, and repair any potential issues.
By cleaning and maintaining your AC unit and having it regularly serviced by an HVAC technician, you can approach the summer months with confidence and peace of mind. Contact AC Designs today to make an appointment with our expert team.