Repairing storm damage to the air conditioner

Keeping Your Cool: How to Maintain Your Air Conditioning Unit

by Ivan Prescott

Air conditioning provides a welcome relief from the uncomfortable heat of summer. But be warned, unless you give your air conditioning unit the care and attention it needs, it will become less efficient at keeping you chilled and could even breakdown completely. By carrying out a few simple maintenance tasks, you can beat the heat and stay cool this summer. You should make sure the power to the unit to switched off before starting any maintenance task.

Make Sure The Vents Are Clean

You should visually inspect the vents of the unit to make sure there is nothing obstructing the flow of air. At least once a month, you should dust down the vents to remove dirt and other debris.

Replace Air Filters

How often you replace air filters largely depends on how regularly the unit is in use. A good rule of thumb is to change air filters every few months. A clogged or dirty filter can reduce the unit's efficiency, meaning it will cost more to operate. There are two types of filter, disposable and permanent. Disposable filters can be discarded and replaced, permanent filters should be washed with water to remove dirt before being re-inserted into the unit.

Check Gas Levels

Air conditioning units do not consume refrigerant gas. This means that gas levels should remain constant within the unit. Low gas levels could indicate a leak, which will reduce the efficiency of the unit.

Clean the Condenser Coils

At least once a month, you should vacuum or wipe any dirt or dust from the condenser coils. Debris will reduce the air flow and insulate the condenser coil, reducing the coil's ability to absorb heat.

Check the Coil Fins

The fins on the condenser coils can become bent out of shape, which obstructs airflow. Using a fin comb, which can be bought from any air conditioner retailer, you can neatly brush the fins back into place.

Keep it Covered in the Cooler Months

During the cooler months, you should cover the external components of the unit. This will protect the unit from being damaged by the weather and also help to protect against the build up of debris.

Get Your Unit Serviced

Once a year, ideally at the start of summer, you should have your air conditioning unit serviced by a professional technician. The technician will be able to test for leaks, measure airflow through the unit, inspect motors and electrical terminals, and check the thermostat is accurate.

For more tips on air conditioning maintenance, contact a local HVAC company.