Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner Filters

The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct's length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.

 

Air Conditioner Coils

The air conditioner's evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.

You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.

 

Coil Fins

The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a "fin comb" that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.

 

Condensate Drains

Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit's drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.

 

Preparing for Winter

Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.

 

Routine Tune-ups and Inspections

Having your air conditioner routinely inspected for safety and proper operating efficiency will prolong the service life of the entire system.  Having the safety features of your air conditioner or furnace inspected is a good idea since failures of the safety devices may cause damage or even catastrophic damage to your home.  Inspections by a qualified and licensed HVAC contractor should always include a safety inspection.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, "Maintaining your air conditioner", www.energy.gov

                We service the Greater Northside Houston Areas                including the following:

Areas We Service 

Cypress

Tomball

 

Bridgeland

Towne Lake

The Woodlands

Cinco Ranch

 

Fairfield

 

Jersey Village

 

Magnolia

Champions

Memorial

 

Spring Branch

 

Bear Creek

 

Katy

Spring

Memorial

River Oaks

Garden Oaks

Memorial 

Copperfield

Lake Conroe

Kingwood

Shenendoah

The Heights

Montgomery

Hockley

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