HVAC Preventative Maintenance
A seasonal preventative maintenance routine can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs or catching minor problems before they become costly major repairs. This is a simple list of maintenance items that will keep your air conditioner running at its best.
- First Change Your Filter. You may have read this on other pages of this website and think I’m starting to sound like a broken record. I am, changing your AC filter is one of the easiest and most important things to do, so I will keep harping on it. A dirty air filter increases energy costs and creates undo wear and tear on the system that may lead to premature failure. A clean filter on the other hand can lower energy consumption by as much as 5 to 15%.
- Check Thermostat Settings. When the seasons change from heating to cooling you may have to reprogram your thermostat. This includes switching from heat to cool and resetting the daily temperature settings. Also check that the clock is set to the right time.
- Turn off Humidifier. If your central air system has a whole house humidifier you will want to shut it off in the summer. You will also want to turn off the water supply if possible. Every humidifier is different so you should check your owner’s manual for summer shut down procedures.
- Keep the Drain Line Clean. In most cases as your air conditioner operates condensation will form on the evaporator coil. This condensation drips from the coil into a collection pan before draining out of the house through the drain line. The drain line is usually made of PVC but may be a hose or any other type of piping. Over time fungus will form in this pipe and could lead to a clogged drain. This clog could cause your AC unit to leak water into your house or may cause your home to feel uncomfortable humid. To avoid this clean the drain each spring by pouring bleach into the inside end of the drain. Add a tablespoon for a short run of pipe up to a cup for a long length of pipe. This should keep your drain clean for a cooling season, but will not help if your drain is already clogged. If this has already happened this page may help.
- Clear Plants and Other Debris from Condenser. During the fall and winter leaves, branches and sometimes debris from the homeowner collect around the outside condenser unit, this debris can restrict the air flow and reduce the performance of the air conditioner. Keep all plants and other debris at least two feet away from all sides of the unit.
- Clean Condenser Coil. The outside condenser coil is made of thin aluminum ribbons over time dirt and pollen can coat the fins and reduce their effectiveness. Clean the coil with a commercial cleaner from a refrigeration supply store. Each cleaner works differently, so follow the instructions on the package. If you are asked to brush or hose the coil beware not to bend the fins.
- Repair Bent Fins. If you find bent fins they can be straightened with a fin comb, available at a refrigeration supply store. Take care when working with the delicate aluminum fins.
- Check and Replace Line Insulation. The refrigeration pipes that run between the condenser coil outside and the evaporator coil inside should be insulated, you should check for damaged or missing insulation. If necessary replace any insulation taking care to use the same type of insulation on the pipes already.