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Take Care of Extra A/C for Longer Cooling

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Mar 17, 2014

ac-unitAs the weather heats up in Florida, People’s Trust recommends to check your A/C unit. Those of us that don’t keep our A/C on year-round will be turning it back on. 

What to Check on Your Home A/C

Whole-home air conditioning units have two main pieces: the condenser and the evaporator coil. The condenser is the large unit you’re used to seeing outside while the evaporator is in the largest duct junction above your home’s furnace.

Both your evaporator and condenser were likely sealed when they were installed. This means that any major repairs or maintenance issues should be left to professionals. It’s best to have your A/C checked by a professional at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and the fall.

There is some minor maintenance that you can safely perform on your unit to help keep it going between professional servicing. Before you perform any service, make sure the power is turned off to both the outside condenser and the inside evaporator. If you’re unsure how to turn the power off, then do not try to perform any cleaning on your A/C.

To clean your condenser you’ll first want to look at the unit while it is running. Make a note of whether the fan blades are moving clockwise or counterclockwise. Next, turn off the power to both the condenser and evaporator. After the power is off, maintain your condenser by:

  • Remove any grass, limbs, or plants that have either fallen on the unit or are growing on the unit.
  • Cut grass and other items that may be in front of your intake.
  • Use a commercial coil cleaner in a spray bottle and spray the condenser coil. Wash or wipe it off, but do not use your lawn hose.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub off dirt or debris from the coil and the grills on the unit.

If there’s any issue accessing your unit’s coil, do not perform the service yourself. Many parts in these units are made out of a thin aluminum and can be damaged if you put too much pressure on them. This is why you should never use your hose to clean your condenser.

To clean your evaporator, you’ll first need to locate the large space above the furnace, called the plenum.  If the evaporator isn’t easy to access or is encased by sheet metal, it’s best to hire a professional. If you can access the evaporator, clean it by:

  • Remove the foil insulation at the front of the plenum. Take care with any tape since you will need to re-tape the insulation.
  • Remove the screws on the plate behind the insulation and take the plate off.
  • With a stuff brush, clean the underside of the unit. Clean as far back as you can reach.
  • Scrub the tray below the evaporator. You can pour a small amount of bleach down the hole in in the middle of the tray. This can help prevent mold or fungus growth.
  • Return the plate, screws, and insulation.
  • Turn the power back on and turn your unit on. Check for any leaks and seal leaking air with duct tape.

Quick-Clean for Your Window Unit

For those of you that have window units to help keep the heat away from some rooms, proper maintenance can help extend their life. The last thing you want as the heat rolls in is have your A/C fail.

These steps can keep your A/C unit in peak condition so that you aren’t stuck sweltering in this summer’s heat. To service the unit yourself, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug the unit and let it sit for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Pop off the front cover and remove the filter.
  3. Gently clean your filter with soap and warm water. Set it out to dry and make sure it dries completely.
  4. Using your vacuum’s hose, clean the front grill and the internal coils. Work to get out dust, hair and other debris. If dust does not come off the coils, wipe them with a clean, dry cloth. You don’t want to use any liquid sprays to clean these coils.
  5. Take off the drain tube usually located under the coils. Check for anything inside the tube by washing it out with warm water. Use pipe cleaners to remove any buildup inside the tube and then flush it with warm water again. Make sure it dries completely.
  6. Look at the cord for your unit and make sure it is not frayed. Consider replacing any A/C units that have frayed or damaged cords.
  7. Reinstall the drain tube, filter and cover after checking that everything has fully dried. Your unit is now ready for another hot time.

Simple maintenance can help your home stay a cool and inviting place, plus keep hefty repair costs at bay. It’s best to check your A/C units before you first turn them on the first time and then again at the beginning of summer.

This Blog is sponsored by:
People’s Trust Insurance Company