Posted on: January 17, 2017
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Air Conditioning
Because the whole purpose of the outdoor unit is to release heat outside your home, having good air flow is essential. The better the air flow, the more efficiently the air conditioner can get rid of that stored heat, improving the performance of the system as a whole.
Your air conditioner works hard enough when it’s working properly. Regular cleaning can help extend its life and keep it working efficiently.
Chances are that if you’ve neglected a spring checkup, your air conditioner isn’t cooling nearly as well as it could. A year’s worth of dirt and debris clogging the cooling fins, a low coolant level, a dirty blower fan filter and a number of other simple problems can significantly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner and wear it out faster.
Turn off the electrical power to the condenser unit at the outdoor shutoff. Either pull out a block or move a switch to the off position. If uncertain, turn off the power to the AC at the main electrical panel.
Clean your outdoor unit on a day that’s at least 60 degrees F. That’s about the minimum temperature at which you can test your air conditioner to make sure it’s working. The condenser usually sits in an inconspicuous spot next to your house. You’ll see two copper tubes running to it, one bare and the other encased in a foam sleeve. If you have a heat pump, both tubes will be covered by foam sleeves.
Turn the power back on, then set the house thermostat to “cool” so the compressor comes on. After 10 minutes, feel the insulated tube. It should feel cool. The uninsulated tube should feel warm.
In most cases, you can simply restore power to the outside unit and move inside to finish the maintenance. However, the compressors are surprisingly fragile and some require special start-up procedures under two conditions.
Turn off the power to the furnace at a nearby switch or at the main panel. Then pull out the furnace filter and check it for dirt buildup. Change it if necessary.The manual will also tell you where to find the oil ports on the blower, if it has any. The blower compartments on newer furnaces and heat pumps are so tight that you often can’t lubricate the blower without removing it. If that’s the case, have a pro do it during a routine maintenance checkup.
Your air conditioner is a somewhat complex machine with many components that work together to keep your home cool. If there’s an issue with any single part, it can drag down the system as a whole. That’s why cleaning and maintaining your air conditioner is so important. To get the best performance out of your AC unit, it is also important to regularly clean the outdoor condenser coil. Call (713) 812-7070 us for your home service and repair needs.
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