As Utah’s spring shifts between frosty mornings and balmy afternoons, the fluctuating temperatures serve a signal to get your air conditioner ready for the summer. The heat of July is not the time to find out that your AC unit was damaged in the colder months and no longer works. Now is the time to check to make sure your AC is ready through cleaning and attending to necessary repairs.
What Are We Working With?
Before you do any work on your AC unit, make sure you know what pieces make up that unit. Traditional air conditioners have two main components, a condenser and an evaporator. The condenser sits next to the house while the evaporator is installed within a home. Because of this setup, the condenser generally needs more cleaning detail. Geothermal heating systems, because they are below ground, are significantly easier to maintenance because they do not experience the same elemental damage, so our suggestions here will be geared towards traditional air conditioning units.
Prepping Your AC Unit
An AC unit needs to be cleaned before it is turned on for the summer. A clean AC unit will perform optimally, saving you money. You can take care of this yourself or have a professional team manage it.
It is critically important to turn off all power to the units before servicing them. Keep yourself safe by making sure that both condenser and evaporator are turned off before cleaning your AC unit. Wear eye protection as you clean.
Clean and Clear Away Debris
We know this is not a pleasant job, but it does need to be done to make sure your AC unit will work properly. The autumn and winter months leave your condenser unit vulnerable to piles of moldering leaves and other debris, though this can be mitigated if you cover your condenser with a tarp when it is not in use. These need to be cleaned away so airflow will be unimpeded. Make sure drains are clear and that your unit sits on a level slab to avoid water pooling around it.
Clean Your AC Unit’s Condenser Coils
The condenser looks like a big box with metal slatted sides that look like grilles. These are called fins, and they need to be clean and straight to perform properly. You can use a vacuum or a rag when cleaning them, but be careful so you don’t dent the fins.
Within the condenser unit, the coil sits underneath the fan. Both the fan blades and the condenser coil need to be clean for optimal performance. Layers of dirt or dust that are less than an inch thick can reduce efficiency by 5%. Again, be gentle when cleaning so you don’t damage the unit.
Clean or Replace Filters
This is the easiest part of prepping your AC unit, a simple yet effective measure to prevent damage. Cleaning the filters will also free up air flow, while dirty filters will blow dirt into your home. For the best results, filters should be cleaned when they are dirty or every six months, not just when you are preparing for the summer.
Check the Coolant Lines
The exchange of coolant between the condenser and evaporator coils is an essential function of your AC unit. Check the connections of the coolant lines to make sure they don’t leak, and look for any corrosion on the piping. Repairs to the refrigeration unit should be done by a professional team to avoid leaking and water damage to the rest of the house.
Test the Unit
Allow both units to dry completely after any cleaning and before turning the air conditioner on. Neglecting to do so will allow any dust flowing through the unit to adhere to the coils instead of passing by. Make sure your thermostat is off before restoring power to the condenser. Keep an eye on the unit and the thermostat after turning everything on to make sure everything functions as it should.
AC Maintenance in Cache Valley
Not only is prepping your AC now important to your comfort (so you do not have to wait for repairs in the stifling heat), it also helps you avoid the highest summer prices for repair service. While you can handle your own cleaning preparations, we definitely recommend professional service if your unit needs a repair. For AC unit cleaning or repair services, our team at Cache Valley Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help. Give us a call today.