An air conditioner is an expensive purchase, and you should ensure that it is properly cared for. This includes regular maintenance work as well as operating the air conditioner under optimum conditions so that it’s not overworked.
Some of the usual maintenance tasks to keep your air conditioner up and running are given below:
For central air conditioners
A central air conditioner contains two main parts – a condenser unit located outside the house and an evaporator coil mounted inside. Both these units are sealed and hence, their internal workings should be serviced by authorized personnel.
However, you can do some preliminary maintenance by cleaning the evaporator as described in the following steps:
1. Remove foil-wrapped insulation at front behind which is the access plate. Unscrew and remove it. Clean entire underside of evaporator unit with stiff brush. You can slide out the unit if it’s difficult to reach.
2. Clean tray below the evaporator. This tray carries away condensation and is susceptible to fungus growth. Household bleach is an effective treatment, and you can pour one tablespoon into the weep hole.
3. Put unit back into place, reinstall plate and tape the insulation back. Check for leaks and block them with duct tape.
The condenser may be cleaned as follows:
1. Since it is located outside the house, it is susceptible to dirt and dust. Moreover, airflow may be blocked by obstructions like grass or shrubs which must be removed. Clean the condenser with commercial coil cleaner, readily available at refrigerator supply stores. Flush the coil clean but do not use a water hose. Let it dry.
2. You can clean the condenser’s fins using a soft brush. Using a hose is not recommended as water may turn the dirt to mud, clogging up the mechanism. The fins, which are considerably fragile, must be treated with care. If they are bent, straighten them with a fin comb, available at most appliance parts stores.
3. You should ensure that the concrete base on which the condenser rests is properly leveled. Make sure that the condenser is protected from the elements to prevent leaf blockage and ice damage. A commercial condenser cover made to fit the shape of the unit or heavy plastic sheeting may be used for this purpose.
Check the refrigerant charge. The cooling fluid circulating in the air conditioner whose evaporation leads to cooling is a special refrigerant gas like freon. It is pre-filled in the system; however, if the system has too much or too little refrigerant, it will not work properly. Professional help should be taken when handling the refrigerant.
For window air conditioners
A window air conditioner consists of a compressor, two fans, a motor, and thermostat controls. The coils, the compressor, and the motor are sealed and hence, should be serviced by authorized personnel. However, like central units, some preliminary maintenance can be carried out:
1. You can clean the filter using a solution of mild household detergent and water. A throwaway filter can be replaced annually. The power cord may wear out and need to be replaced. The evaporator and condenser coils may be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.
2. The drain ports can become clogged with dirt. You can clean them using a stiff piece of wire. The fan, if malfunctioning, can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner and soft cloth. If a blade has loosened, tighten it with a screwdriver. Top 10 refrigerant recovery machines