Just like a good wife, Air conditioner is almost forgotten all the time. Only when it gets trouble, you begin to aware its existence. Your house’s getting hotter.
And then, most of us do this, you push its working limits –hoping that its performance is as cool as it used to be. Before getting into summer AC trouble, the following are Air Conditioner maintenance tips to keep your home air conditioner run well.
1. How Air Conditioner Works
There’re two types of AC: the central AC, and personal AC. The first AC cools the whole house from one centralized AC system. While the latter usually is for one-room usage.
Both of the system has the same basic system, both have condenser and evaporator parts. The maintenance is relatively the same as well.
2. Keep The Air Conditioner Clean
Fins acts as a kind of the outer filtering fortress before the air let into the AC cooling system. If the fins amazzed dust or dirt, it obstructs the air flow –means inefficiency and worse air conditioning.
To avoid it, keep the fins clean. They’s easy to clean the part. You need only to vacuum them clean, use soft –bristle brush, for they are fragile and easily bend. If you’re unsure of the parts whereabout, check the manual.
3. Don’t let the Air Conditioner Pad Sinking or Tilting
The exterior parts of the centralized AC usually put on a concrete pad. Over years, the pad may sunk or tilting from the AC weight. Just check the electrical lines and coolant tube under the AC parts.
If they get strained or bend under the weight of the tilting machinery, you need to fix the pad in order to get the unit lays on the flat again. A pool around the pad also a sign of necessary check and repair.
4. You Need a Programmable Thermostat
Today you should not set the AC unit on a low temperature setting all the time. Aside of its inefficiency, you also has forced the AC to run on high work load all the time. To set the matter, use a programmable thermostat.
Unlike the conventional one, programmable thermostat enable you to program the temperature setting throughout the day (or night), so the unit can lower the temperature automatically at certain time when you needed the chill most –without you having to set it manually.
5. In-Line Duct Booster is Needed -Sometimes
There’s a case that, though you had set an AC unit, sometimes you can still feel the heat on certain room in your house. This probably due to the lack of air flow into the room. To solve the problem, add an in-line duct booster.
The duct will increase the conditioned air flow into the room from the main air duct. The duct may operates with remote control, or via switch –it’s your choices. As a result, you’ll have a uniformly cool temperature across the room in the house.
6. Kill Your Noisy Air Conditioner
The comfort of cool conditioned air won’t give you peace of mind if the compressor fan in the condenser unit acting strange with funny noises. If so, you probably need to replace the condenser unit. The new versions are mostly quiet.
But if you still need the quietest level of fan noises, wrap the unit with a sound blanket. Each unit has its own version of blanket, but you can use a universal sound blanket if you have no other options.
7. Fix the Fins
Bend fins need to be realigned. Because of its fragile nature, don’t use excessive power in doing the realigning. Use dull stuff to do it, a dinner knife will help you magnificently. Please do not too deep in inserting the knife, ½ of an inch (max) is enough.
8. Clear the Clogged Condensate Drain Tube
Water pooling around when AC running is a sign of clogged drain tube. Over time, condensated water which run through the tube can be poluted by bacteria, resulting slime-like substance that could clog the tube. You need to clear the clog for the AC to run smoothly again.
9. Do Make a Checklist
Be sure to have a checklist for regular maintenance of your AC unit. This way, with regular maintenance, you’ll have least risk of a down AC in the middle of the hottest summer.
10. See If You Need a Filter Replacement
An AC filter cleans the air before entering your room as cooled air. To be efficient, this part shpuld always be clean of dust or dirt. So, it’s necessary to replace the filter regularly.
11. Find the Right Size AC
You have an AC unit in the house, but you still feel the heat in the rooms. It probably you got the wrong size of AC –it’s too small for your needs. To avoid the problem, before purchasing one, make sure that the unit has the right size for the house.
12. Troubleshoot Yourself
Troubleshooting an AC unit can be expensive –if you ask a technician. Save your precious money by doing the troubleshoot yourself. An electrician may charges you several hundred, but you may need only $50 (for parts) if you do the repair yourself.
13. Insulation to Check
A rotted insulation means AC inefficiency. If you see a part (or the whole) outdoor AC lines get rotten, change the lines. Changing the insulation won’t do any good, just replace the damaged lines.
14. You Need a Fin Comb
Fixing bend fins can be tedious. Need something fast to help you do it? Then you need a fin comb. This special comb is specially designed to comb and simultaneously aligning the AC fins again.
15. A Brush for Deep Cleaning
Just like your central AC unit, a room-size need cleaning as well. You need a foam cleanser and a plastic bristle –and watchful eyes with deft hands.
16. A New AC Unit Option
When repairing or maintaining the existing AC seems won’t do any good –your house still hot no matter the setting is, then the best option get rid of it and replace it with the new one. After all, the new generation of AC are usually better and much more efficient.
17. Finding Leaky Spots
Leaky house, no matter small, still can cause cooling inefficiency. You can try this simple trick of finding a leaky spot in your house: turn off all the fans (all cooling fans, if any), AC unit, and close the doors and windows.
Light a stick of incense and walk slowly around the house. If in certain location you see that the smoke look blown away (or sucked in), you’ve find your leaky spot. The seal the leak.
18. Don’t Wrap Your Condenser
The last trick in this Air Conditioner Maintenance tips is about condenser wrapping. In short, don’t use tarp or any other tight-wrapping materials for condenser.
They trap the moisture that should be released to the air. The results are rusting and rotten lines. Use plywood instead. Weight the wood to keep it in place.
BONUS: Tips to Cool Your House
1. Whole-House Fan -Old but Gold
As an alternative of AC unit, you can have set of whole-house fan. The setting is simple, the electric bill won’t make your account dry, and you can enjoy the cool breeze all the time. A proper fan can cool down your house in a matter of minutes.
2. Control the Windows -Control the Heat
One of the main key to control the house temperature is the windows. Hot air come into the house through the windows –especially on hot days. Avoid the hot air into the house by closing the windows and pull down the blind.
Now you have understood the basic of air conditioner maintenance tips (plus 2 simple tips to cool your house). So, when your AC unit get into trouble you’ll know what to do first.
Find the manual, check the wiring, and see what you can do to get the problem out. It’s fun to know that you can fix something like AC unit. Try it.