How to Maintain Your AC When You’re Not a Professional

Summer is upon us in Rhode Island, and it’s time for you to make sure your AC is up to the challenge. Just like a car, annual air conditioning maintenance goes a long way towards summer comfort, preventing high electric bills or worse: needing to hire professional to repair your unit.

Even if your AC seems to be running smoothly, you should still consider regular maintenance, as there could be problems hidden right under your nose. The best part? You don’t need to have expert knowledge to get the most out of your unit.

NOTE: Make sure the unit is turned off before you do anything.

Replace Those Filters!

You’ll need:

  • A fresh filter (Possibly)

Probably the easiest way to maintain your AC, and yet the most overlooked. Filters get dirty over time, and if you leave them to collect more dirt then they can handle, they will reduce your AC’s efficiency quite a bit, which is something you don’t want when the temperatures are pushing triple digits!

If you are performing central air maintenance, the filters will be somewhere in the return duct. Air conditioners in your room will have a grill you can remove. Typically, filters need to be replaced every few months, but the time they need to be replaced will all depend on how often your system used, how much dust gets in the unit(s), and how many furry pets share the home with you.

Also, check to see what kind of filter you have. Some filters can be washed and reused, so you won’t have to worry about getting a new one each time.

Clean Those Coils!

You’ll need:

  • A screwdriver (possibly)
  • A soft brush
  • Coil cleaner

An AC has coils that need to be cleaned every year or so. The coils can collect dirt over time, and a dirty coil can cause trouble for your unit. If you’ve been replacing your filters regularly, the chances of your coils getting dirty are reduced, but they still need cleaning every so often.

There are two types of coils: evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor.) You’ll find the evaporator coil somewhere on the unit inside, and it may have a door you’ll need to be opened via a screwdriver. You should see the coil in there. First, use the brush to dust it off, and then use coil cleaner, available at any hardware store, to clean it off.

To get the condenser coil, find your outdoor unit. Make sure there isn’t any grass growing around it. Once you do that, use a screwdriver to remove its outer case. Inside, use some cleaner to remove any dirt or debris. Wipe off the fan as well. In fact, just make sure the entire unit is free from dirt and debris.

Clean the Drain Pan!

You’ll need:

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bleach

A dirty drain pan can cause trouble, and may even overflow, making a mess. To find the drain pan, try looking below the evaporator coil. Use soap and water to give it a good cleaning, and finish off with a cup of bleach. The bleach will kill any algae, leaving the drain line sparkling!

Hire a Professional!

These steps should get your unit ready for the summer. However, if you’re not confident of your skills, or want a more thorough maintenance, don’t be afraid to call a professional to maintain your AC annually. In the long run, you’ll end up saving money since you won’t need to make pricey repairs, and an AC running smoothly will cut down on your electric bills. It’s a win-win!