Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently With These DIY Maintenance Tips

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How to Keep Your Cool When the Mercury is Rising

When the heat is rising to record-breaking levels, it can be really tough to stay cool. This summer, I found that my air conditioner had trouble keeping up with the temperatures. It wasn't that the AC wasn't working, it was just that I couldn't seem to get my house cooled down as much as I wanted. I worried that I would have to replace the whole AC system. Luckily, I have a good friend who works as an HVAC contractor. He took a look at my system and gave good news -- it didn't need to be replaced. Instead, he shared a lot of tips for helping my air conditioner work more efficiently, as well as some ideas to help supplement the AC and keep the house cooler. I'm using those tips to create this blog to share ways for all of us to keep cool on the hottest days.

Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently With These DIY Maintenance Tips

6 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog

When the hot weather hits and you start relying on your home air conditioner to keep your house cool, you want it working at its best during peak usage. It's a good idea to have it inspected early in the season by a heating and air conditioning service. But there are also a couple of maintenance tasks that you can do yourself to keep it working well. Here is what you can do yourself to keep your AC in top shape all season long.

Change the Filter

You can reduce the amount of work your air conditioner must do by simply keeping a clean filter in the system. As the filter becomes dirty, the AC motor must work harder to pull air through the filter. This causes the motor to heat up. If the filter becomes seriously clogged, you risk burning out the motor, resulting in an expensive repair bill. It's recommended that you change the filter every one to three months.

  1. Turn off the air conditioner.
  2. Remove the access panel to the air filter.
  3. Remove the old filter, noting the direction the arrow printed on the edge of the filter is pointing.
  4. Wipe any dirt off of the frame in which the filter rests.
  5. Place the new filter in the frame with the arrow pointed in the same direction as the old filter.
  6. Make sure there are no gaps between the frame and the filter where dirty air can get around the filter and into the system.
  7. Replace the access cover and turn the AC back on.

Buy several filters early in the season so you always have one on hand.

Cleaning the Compressor Coils

The compressor is the part of the air conditioner that sits outside of the house. It is responsible for creating the cool air that is forced back into your home. A fan and special metal fins remove heat from around the compressor motor so it doesn't overheat. Cleaning these every few weeks helps the motor run cooler and prevents it from burning out during peak usage.

  1. Turn off the air conditioner.
  2. Remove the screws holding the top of the compressor unit in place.
  3. Take off the top of the unit to expose the fan and cooling fins.
  4. Using a vacuum cleaner with a long wand and soft brush, clean off the fan blades.
  5. Clean off the metal fins surrounding the compressor motor.
  6. Straighten any fins that have become bent or mashed down.
  7. If a large area of fins has been mashed down, have an AC repair service look at the unit. They have special tools to straighten out several fins at once.
  8. Replace the cover onto the compressor unit and turn the AC back on.

With a little care every year, you'll keep your AC running efficiently during those peak times of heat when you need it most.