Summer is fast approaching and your thoughts turn to preparing your home.
In addition to tossing the windows open and airing out the stale spring air,
you also want to give your big appliances some tender loving care.
Make sure your air conditioner is ready for the hot weather by cleaning the unit for improved efficiency and safety.
Shut Down Power
On the exterior wall near your air conditioner compressor,
you will find an appliance shutoff box.
Open the box and disconnect the power.
It may be a fuse that you pull out or a circuit breaker that should be tripped.
Shut down the power so you can safely work on and clean the exterior unit.
If there is no outdoor shutoff box, then turn off power at the main breaker inside the house.
Remove Debris Around the Unit
If you have any landscaping within two feet of the system, it should be eliminated.
Low-growing ground cover that does not inhibit airflow is acceptable,
but any flowering plants or greenery that stands up around the base of your compressor will limit airflow.
This is also the perfect time to sweep out old leaves, grass clippings and any other debris.
If you want the compressor to look nice, then add a layer of mulch or small pebbles on the ground around it to cover the bare earth while maintaining airflow.
Vacuum the Exterior
Take your shop vacuum out to the compressor along with a soft bristle attachment.
Use this attachment to vacuum the fins of the compressor on all sides of the unit.
Take care with the fins to avoid bending them. Anything that is embedded in the fins and will not come out with vacuuming should be removed by hand.
Remove the Top Cover
Using a screwdriver, gently remove the top of the air conditioner unit.
There will be a fan attached to the base, so gently set it to the side without tangling or loosening any wires.
Look inside the compressor and you will be impressed at the leaves and dirt that manage to blow in over the winter.
Remove as much as you can by hand, then vacuum out what it still visible.
A Gentle Shower
With your garden hose on low pressure, gently wash off the interior coils.
High pressure is not usually required, but you should move the hose around to try getting on all exposed sides of the coils.
Once the interior of the system is cleaned, you are ready to replace the lid.
Change the Filter
Inside the home, you should install a new air filter. Ideally, your filter should be replaced once a month to improve indoor air quality, boost energy efficiency levels and prolong the life of your system.
Invest in a few extra filters that you can have on hand to ensure that they are changed regularly.
Call for Annual Maintenance
Some parts of your system, like the evaporator and ducts, are hidden from view and difficult to inspect.
While you can easily clean the compressor, you may want to invest in annual service to clean and service the internal parts.
It’s a small price to pay, and it will extend the life of your system.
When it’s time for spring cleaning in the home, don’t forget to treat your air conditioner to a little extra care.
Cleaning the system before you turn it on will boost efficiency levels and help you save money on operating expenses.
This is also the best time to call for annual maintenance to make sure your system is working properly and is ready for the demands of summer.
License: Creative Commons
Rachel is a blogger who writes on a variety of topics including home improvement, DIY, and green articles.
She writes for Aramendia Plumbing, Heating & Air who specializes in air conditioning maintenance and repair. You can follow Aramendia @GoodGuys1st.
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