How Do I Clean My AC Unit This Spring?
Now that the winter is finally over, and the temperatures in the low 70s are just right to enjoy the weather outside, all the worries about the heating are behind us. However, knowing the weather in California, pretty soon we will be yearning for the cooling capabilities of our indoor AC units.
Washing AC Unit
However, before you can even turn on your AC unit, you need to make sure that it is functioning normally and that it has been thoroughly cleaned. An annual air conditioning service is paramount, but there are some things you can do on your own if you’ve got some mechanic and handyman skills.
Visually Inspect the Outdoor Unit
The vast majority of the US households have an AC which has a significant outdoor unit, so that is not a bad place to start. After all, it has been outside throughout the winter, and it may have suffered from the elements. The outside panels of the unit are there to protect the electrical components inside from damage.
If there is some damage to the panels or even a missing panel for whatever reason, you will need to have it repaired or replaced to protect both the equipment inside and you from any unpleasant surprises.
Clean the Outside Unit
Most homeowners use some cover to protect their outdoor unit from debris and small animals who might be seeking shelter in the unit during the winter. Now that you want to start using the unit again, you will need to remove the cover and clean out any debris that may have collected despite your best efforts. Omitting to do so can significantly decrease the effectiveness of your unit and can result in some extensive damage which may incur some major AC repair needs.
Clean or Replace the Air Filters
Once you have done everything you can for the outside unit, you should pay attention to the inside unit. The first thing to do before starting a new cooling season is cleaning or replacing the air filters. They have most likely been there all winter and have collected quite a lot of debris and house dust. However, that’s not the worst thing about dirty air filters; they also retain some allergens and germs which will continually be injected into your home’s air, significantly reducing your air quality.
Check the Level of Refrigerant
Your AC unit depends on a chemical refrigerant to lower the temperature of the air inside your home. The refrigerant is in a closed system inside your AC. Even though it is a closed system, the levels of the refrigerant can drop below the optimal levels. Most commonly it happens as a result of a leak, which would be evident by the freezing and condensation on the outside of the conductor coils.
However, the refrigerant can run out naturally from long use. Simply put, small quantities of it are lost over time, and after a while, there is an insufficient quantity left in the unit. If that is the case, you will have to have it refilled by a professional air conditioner technician.
Turn It On to Check Whether It Works
Once you’ve done everything on this list, it is time to turn on the AC for the first time and see whether it works and, if it does, whether everything works flawlessly. Set the thermometer reasonably low and check how long it needs to cool your house down. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, turn it off and consult an HVAC technician to help you figure out what the problem is. Be ready for those long hot days and start preparing early.