HVAC service technicians bag with the text How to Maintain Air Conditioners

It is miserable to come home from a long day out in the scorching summer sun to find out that your air conditioning isn’t working. Without cool air, you and your family will feel like you are swimming in a pool of your own sweat. Fortunately, by performing a few maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the air conditioner coils and ensuring that your thermostat is working properly, you can prevent your A/C unit from malfunctioning. Here is how to maintain your air conditioner in six simple steps:

1. Clean the Air Conditioner Coils

Over time, dirt and residue will build up on your air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils. When they’re clogged with dirt, it’s harder for the refrigerant running through the coils to absorb the heat in the air. This means that your A/C must work harder to keep your home cool, thus causing more wear and tear and making it break down more quickly. For this reason, it is important to clean your air conditioner’s coils at least once a year with a soft cloth.

2. Clean out Debris from Outdoor Units

Outdoor air conditioning units often collect grass clippings, dirt, leaves, and small twigs in their vents. Make sure to frequently check and remove any debris you find lodged in the vents. If the problem remains ignored, the air flow to your unit will be restricted, which will force the unit to work harder. Overstraining your unit can lead to broken fans and blowers, which can be expensive to fix or replace. Another good habit is to keep limbs from trees and shrubs trimmed back and away from your outdoor air conditioning unit. This will help prevent them from clogging up your air conditioning unit and keep the airflow nice and open.

3. Ensure that Your Thermostat is Functioning Properly

One of the most common causes of an air conditioner malfunction is a faulty thermostat. The thermostat is the communication center between you and your unit. If there is a problem with the thermostat, then the air conditioning unit will either turn off and on, fail to turn on when directed, or fail to stay at a constant temperature.

Always check the batteries in your thermostat to ensure that they haven’t died when you notice a problem with your unit. If they have died, replace them as soon as possible, and restart your unit. If you do not see any improvement in your system, you will need an HVAC technician to check the wiring.

It is important that you do not block your thermostat by placing large objects, such as furniture, in front of it. Your thermostat needs an open space to get an accurate reading of the air inside your home. If you feel that your thermostat is getting an inaccurate reading, you can always double check by turning your thermostat on and off. If the air conditioning unit doesn’t turn on or it is showing a completely different reading, it may be time to replace your thermostat.

4. Check the Electrical Connection

A majority of air conditioners today are powered by electricity. It is essential to check your air conditioner’s wires for signs of damage, wear, or even incorrect connection. A problem with your units wires or cables can result in a malfunction of the unit and increase the risk of fire or electrocution.

5. Check the Condensation Pan and Drain

If you are inspecting your air conditioning unit and notice water collecting in the pan underneath your unit, do not be alarmed, as this is completely normal. Your air conditioner helps dehumidify the air by removing the excess moisture. The water collected in the pan is moisture and the natural sweat from the unit.

If you notice that water is rising too high, getting near the maximum mark, or you are having a problem with your air conditioning unit randomly turning off and on, then there could be a potential clog in the drainage pipe. Over time, the residue can collect in the pipe, restricting its ability to remove the water from the pan. Due to safety innovations, your air conditioning unit is designed to turn off automatically when it senses that there is too much water in the pan. This helps reduce the risk of a short circuit or fire.

It is vital to inspect the pan periodically to examine the water level. If there is too much water inside of the pan, you can dump it out. If the water continues to collect and not drain, it is time to call an HVAC specialist to help clear the drainage pipe of debris.

6. Air Filter Replacement

At least once a month you should change the filters in your vents. Dirt and dander eventually clog up the filter, limiting its ability to keep your air clean. If you are unsure which size to replace your air filter with, you can always take your air filter into a hardware store and have an associate assist you in finding the right size.

Your air conditioning unit works hard to ensure that your home is a cool and comfortable place for you and your family. The HVAC technicians at Cote’s Mechanical can ensure that your air conditioner stays in working condition by setting up a regular maintenance schedule and annual check-up of your unit.  Contact Cote’s Mechanical today for all of your air conditioning needs.