How to Take Care of Your AC Between Service Visits
Seasonal air conditioner maintenance is probably the most important way to extend the lifespan and maintain the efficiency of your central air conditioning system. Ordinary wear and tear over the course of weeks and months can cause your AC to overwork, struggle, overheat and eventually shut down.
Keeping everything clean will help you catch any smaller problems before they become serious. Something as innocuous as a layer of leaves on your outdoor unit can eventually cause your entire system to fail. So to keep everything in good shape between regular service visits, here are a few tips.
Change your filters monthly.
This is very important for your family’s health.
Old, dirty air filters don’t adequately filter your air. The air you breathe at home won’t be as clean as it ought to be, which can lead from everything to excess dust to respiratory problems.
Dirty air filters allow dirt and grime to build up in your ducts, which can lower the overall efficiency of your system and harbor microbes and mites that can multiply and get into the air in your home.
Once a month, replace or clean your air filters.
- For 1″ filters, look for one that you can’t see through when you hold it up to the light to make sure it’s actually doing the job in the first place.
- For larger washable filters, thoroughly rinse and dry them every 30 days. Swapping between 2 filters every month is easiest.
Keep your drain line clear.
As your air conditioner keeps the house cool, condensation from the system drains through a series of tubes. If left stagnant, these pipes grow ground for mould and fungus, which can spread and clog your whole drainage system.
Once a year, as part of regular air conditioner maintenance, your Oosterveld Heating specialist will use a high powered vacuum to suck everything out of the pipes. To prevent the problem in the first place, visually inspect the drain at least once a month. If there’s a buildup of liquid in your drain pan or in the pipe, do your best to remove any debris that may be clogging the outlet.
To keep gunk from growing in the first place, add 1/4 cup bleach mixed with 3/4 cup water directly to your drain line’s access port (usually a T-valve) every 3 months. If the plug on your access port has a wire sticking out, make sure to switch off your air conditioner’s breaker before you remove the cap, and be sure to replace it when you’re done.
Keep your condenser clean.
This is the the #1 reason for early-summer emergency calls to your Oosterveld Heating technician.
During the off season, your condenser can get clogged with leaves, dirt and other gunk. This interrupts circulation and can actually keep your air conditioning unit from cooling at all.
On the first of every month, visually inspect the outdoor ac unit. Cut back any grass, weeds, hedges, or other plants, and remove leaves or dirt stuck inside. Switch off your air conditioner and rinse the outside surface. A garden hose with a spray nozzle works just fine.
Replace the thermostat batteries.
Your Oosterveld Heating professional will calibrate your thermostat as part of the annual air conditioner maintenance, but if it goes out between routine checkups, the batteries are pretty easy to replace yourself.
Some thermostats have flip open battery covers, but usually you’ll have to gently pull the thermostat or its faceplate away from the wall. Just swap them out and pop the thermostat back in place – but make sure you shut off your thermostat’s breaker before you start to make sure you don’t get shocked.
There you have it! You can have a hand in maintaining your home comfort equipment without being an expert.
For all the other air conditioner maintenance jobs, book a visit from Oosterveld Heating. We’re your best source for professional, courteous service in the HVAC industry.