How to Maintain an Air Conditioner
A properly maintained air conditioner will cool your home for years. It's easy to do, only takes a little time and by maintaining your air conditioner you won't have to worry the next time a heat wave rolls in. Here's how to make sure your air conditioner doesn't let you down.
Maintain the unit's filters
- Unplug the air conditioner and remove the front cover. The filter itself may be attached to the back or the front cover or fastened in front of the coils.
- Remove the filter and then wash it in soap and warm water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and let the filter dry before reinstalling it. Replace a damaged or torn filter.
- Wipe the cover itself as well as the grill over the evaporator coils.
- Vacuum the grill and evaporator coils gently. The aluminum fins on the coils are easily bent, so treat them with care.
Clean and flush the drainage system
- Remove the drain tube from the air conditioner.
- Clear any blockages in the drain tube by running a piece of wire or a bottlebrush through the tube.
- Clean the tube itself by pouring a cup of chlorine bleach and water through the tube.
Things You Will Need
- Shop vac plus soap and water
- Chlorine bleach
- Screwdriver to remove cover
- Piece of wire or bottlebrush for cleaning drainage tube
- Turn the air conditioner down (or better yet - off) if you are going to be out of the room for a day or more (even if you are just going to work). This will give the fan in the unit a break and as an added bonus, save on your electrical bill.
- Install a window air conditioner out of direct sunlight if at all possible. North- or South-facing walls are better than East- or West-facing, since they don't get direct sun.
- Ensure that the seams all around the air conditioner are well sealed. This keeps the hot air outside and the cool air inside.
- Remove a window unit during the winter. If this isn't possible, cover it to protect if from debris and winter weather.
- Keeping an air conditioner's coils, fins and filters clean will ensure that it operates efficiently. A poorly maintained air conditioner not only loses efficiency (and cooling capability), but costs more to run.