As summers approach, the average temperature starts to soar in the United States.
With rising temperatures starts the heavy usage of air conditioners. But if your system is not working at its peak performance, you might live in an uncomfortable space while also paying extra money.
Contact 24/7 to schedule an appointment today.
And that’s how we know the importance of air conditioner care (as well as furnace maintenance)
But the question here is, what accounts for ac maintenance?
Worry not! We have got you covered.
In this blog, we will have a detailed discussion about the maintenance checklist so that you have good knowledge about how things work with your cooling system.
So let’s get into it!
Factors influencing your ac maintenance
If you own a system that heats and cools your house, it is better to plan for a tune up service twice a year. You should schedule the first maintenance service right before summer or during spring and the second during fall or before winter. You must get your air conditioning unit assessed before summer and your furnace before winter if you own a separate system.
That being said, the frequency of your ac maintenance (1) can depend on a variety of factors like:
- The age of your system.
- System’s condition.
- Size of the unit.
- The particular brand of the unit.
- Frequency of usage.
- Location of your house.
Summer/Spring AC maintenance checklist
Springs and pre-summers are the perfect time to give your air conditioning system friendly maintenance. The reason is- The summers are about to arrive, and you must prepare your system to operate at its peak levels. So, here’s a step-by-step process of what your summer maintenance checklist should look like:
- Replace the air filters.
- Clean the area surrounding the outdoor unit so that the airflow isn’t obstructed.
- Clear the drain line of the condenser.
- Drain out any standing water from the drain pans.
- Make sure there is no pest infestation in the attic or anywhere else.
- Check the batteries of your thermostat and change them if needed.
- Examine your thermostat’s programming and change it to cool or better auto.
Taking care of these simple steps will ensure that your HVAC system is ready to rock the summer.
Fall/Winter air conditioning AC maintenance checklist
In the fall, your ac maintenance checklist goal is to keep your air conditioner in good shape until the following summer because you will not use it for a few months. Here is what your contractor is supposed to do:
- Clean the indoor air filters.
- Clean and unclog the drain pipelines.
- Look for any pest infestation.
- Remove the debris and then clean the space around the outdoor unit.
These tips will help prepare your system for winter, and they also take care of a few safety checks you should be doing annually.
Easy steps for your AC maintenance checklist
Here are some HVAC maintenance tips to get you going:
Air filters maintenance
Do you know the most straightforward task in the whole AC maintenance lot?
It’s maintaining the air filters, which you can even conduct by yourself. Most AC systems come with disposable filters. So, all you got to do is dump the older filters and replace them with a new ones.
If we talk about replacing the filters- Well! You must replace them at least every three months to maintain healthy indoor air quality. If you have those thinner, pleated air filters like fibreglass or plastic, you must change them every month. The frequency of replacing the filters also depends on:
- If you have pets at home.
- If you live in a dusty area.
In such cases, you must change the filters more often.
So, now the point is, how do you change the filters?
First, you must switch off the system and then open the access panel of your air handler. Next, remove the filter carefully and replace it with a new one. Make sure that you don’t drop any dust or debris.
The filters have markings on them regarding the front and the back portion, so ensure that you put them in the right direction.
Cleaning the compressor
The majority of the residential air conditioner systems come with an exterior compressor or condenser. The compressor is usually placed in the backyard of the house. The units are meant to cool the refrigerant used in the air handling lines.
When the compressor gets filled up with dirt or debris, the air conditioner’s efficiency starts to deteriorate, which might cause a breakdown of the system. So, the simple way out is to keep the compressor clean. Here is a step by step process:
Turning off the compressor
Whenever you are trying to assess a system, the first step is to switch off the unit. Because working with an actively running system can be dangerous. So, it is better to turn it off. Then, find the circuit breaker and switch the connected circuit to the compressor. It will ensure that the unit doesn’t switch on while cleaning the system.
Removing debris from the unit
The next step is to clean and remove the debris in and around the units. First, open the top lid of the compressor using a screwdriver or a fastener. Remove the dirt inside the compressor either with a hand or a vacuum cleaner. Both the ways, make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects, insect bites, poisonous plants etc., that can be present in the system.
Cleaning and straightening the fins
There are thin fins on both sides of the air conditioning unit made of metal. These fins are prone to clogging with dirt. The best way to clean and unclog them is by using a hose to spray the fins from inside the ac unit so that the dirt and debris come out quickly. If you notice any warps or bends, use a screwdriver or butter knife to flatten them up. Doing this will enhance the airflow and minimize the strain on the unit.
Cleaning the area around the AC unit
Check the surrounding of the ac unit and clean it up if needed. If there is any unkempt grass nearby, trim it up. Try removing other objects that can cause potential obstruction in the airflow.
Reassembling the ac unit
Once you are done cleaning and assessing every part of the system, put back the top lid of the compressor and fasten it up. Then switch on the circuit breaker and the compressor again.
Evaporator and condenser coil maintenance
When checking the air conditioner’s inner air handler, you must switch off the system for a while and even inspect the evaporator coil. You need to remove the duct tape from the coil and unfasten some screws.
Once it is open, take a look at the coil and check the condition. There might be some discolouration, but it is normal. Ensure there is no dirt or debris accumulation on the coil. If there’s, clean it with a coil cleaner using a soft brush. The dirty water from this cleaning will keep collecting in the drain pan, so make sure to clean the drain pan.
When cleaning the drain pan, pour some bleaching water to kill any algae or bacteria that might be growing. It is better to prepare this bleaching water with 50% bleach and 50% water. While handling bleach or any other dangerous chemicals, keep in mind that you wear gloves, protective eyeglasses, and other protective gear to prevent any skin contact with the chemicals.
If you own a fan with a variable speed, make sure that all the fan speeds are working perfectly. Check the temperature reading on the programmable thermostat and see if it is accurate simply by comparing it with an accurate temperature sensor.
Also, look for modulating dampers and valves that are part of the air conditioning system and ensure that they are correctly operating. The dampers and valves should open and close properly as the thermostat monitors them.
If your thermostat has a scheduling system, check to make sure that it has been scheduled correctly and switches the unit on and off accordingly.
However, if you face any trouble, you can always come up to us for help. At RLD, we are always happy to help you out!
Drainline and drain pan maintenance.
It is essential to keep the drain line and drain pipe of your ac clean. Though it does not directly affect the functioning of your system, it can create a mess around your ac unit. Therefore you must maintain and clean it properly.
Is it enough? Well, the answer is No. Simple cleaning is not enough. You must inspect the drain pan and drain line thoroughly to check if there is any buildup of gunk or slime. Slime-like materials are organic and coat your drain line’s internal parts. It isn’t problematic at first but can clog the drain lines and overflow the drain pipe if you don’t clean it up on time.
To clean the drain pan, you must remove any accumulated water or debris from it. If the water is less, simply a rag will do. But if the water content is good, you’ll need a vacuum to dry it out.
While clearing the drain pan, there’s a catch. In typical cases, the drain pans shouldn’t have water in them. So, if your drain has a good amount of water stuck in it, it is undoubtedly clogged.
Talking about the drain line, the best way to clean it is to scrub the inside of the line. Remove the vent cap inside the air handler from the top of the vent tee. Insert the brush into the pipe from the vent opening where the AC drains, and scrub gently until the line is unclogged and clean.
If there is a heavy amount of slime inside the drain line, use the bleaching mixture to kill the germs inside it.
AC fan and blower maintenance
The blower on your air conditioner is the fan responsible for blowing and distributing the air throughout your home. It is an eccentric fan that can move large amounts of air. Since it is an essential element of the ac, maintaining the blower is necessary for the better functioning of the system.
The first step towards servicing any part of the system is to turn off the power of your ac unit. The next step is to open the air handler’s access panel and inspect the fan and motor. Ensure that the fan is clean and has no dust or dirt accumulation over it. The point here is that the fan should run freely, and the motor should not move or vibrate from its position.
If your unit has fan pulleys or belts, look at them. Ensure that the belt is not overworn and in a decent condition. If the belt is overworn, you must get it changed.
Generally, the belts have to be replaced every once a year. However, the shelf life of the belt heavily depends on how well it is tensioned and aligned. For example, a nicely adjusted fan belt will last for more than a year, while the improper one might need a replacement even before a year or in a few weeks.
AC Fan Motor Oil & Lubrication
The fan motor is crucial, especially for the AC condenser fan motors. The reason behind this is that condensers are placed outside, making them susceptible to rain, dirt, heat, and other conditions. While dealing with all these conditions, it is essential to regularly oil the fan motors to keep them working nicely. If you start to hear a loud screeching noise from the fan, it is an obvious sign that it needs oiling.
Now the point is, how to oil the fan? First, you need to switch off the central power unit. Then untighten the screws of the top of the unit to remove the panel and reach the fan motor. The next step is to use an applicator tube or a syringe to inject the oil into the different ports on the fan motor.
The oil ports, at times, can be hard to find, but they are usually the tiny homes built on the side of the fan motor. When oiling the oil ports, try to oil the motor shaft.
AC electricals and controls maintenance
Even though we recommend you to leave the technical and electrical maintenance part to the professionals, there are still some of the tasks that you can do to check if everything is alright.
First of all, shut down the system. No matter which unit you are working on- the indoor or the outdoor unit, you must ensure that the entire system is turned off.
After the system is off, pull out the panel that binds the unit’s electrical controls. Assess the electrical parts thoroughly and look for loose wiring or corrosion signs. Weak connections can lead to sparks and fire, tightening all the connections.
Keeping the electronic systems clean is crucial to keeping your equipment functioning smoothly. For cleaning the electronics, you can use air compressors to blow out any dirt or dead insects from the electrical spaces. It will save your electrical connections from any short circuit or system failure.
Ductwork inspection and maintenance
Ductwork is the easiest part to maintain in the entire HVAC system. However, it comes with its own set of problems. The ductwork distributes the conditioned air to different parts of your house. So, you need to make sure that everything is fit and fine.
Check the registers and vents for any moulds or dust. Also, inspect the ductwork to ensure no buildup of dust. A little dust is fine, but if there exists a thick layer of dust and balls of lint, use a cloth and wipe the registers nicely.
Another thing to check in the ductwork is the presence of animals and insects. Small insects can crawl into your ductwork and may get killed while also leaving a mess.
Also, check for any leaks in your ductwork. The common cause behind leaks is corrosion. Corrosion creates holes in your ductwork leading to loss of airflow and reduced efficiency. Ensure that your check all the seams and connection points correctly.
If you have mould growth on the vents or the ducts, you must clean it up regularly. Mould spores, if inhaled, can be dangerous, so be careful while cleaning. Wear protective gloves, glasses, masks etc.
Use a soft scrubber or a sponge to clean the moulds from the larger surfaces like the ductwork. You can also use a light detergent or soap to clean the ducts. After cleaning, use a disn=infectant to prevent mould growth in the future.
Refrigerant tubing maintenance
Air conditioners generally have small metal tubes that run from the outer compressor or condenser to the air handling unit. These tubes are responsible for carrying the system’s refrigerant to regulate the temperature of your house.
If there occurs a leak in these refrigerant tubes, your system might not work at its best efficiency, and you might need professional help. The reason is- Without a properly functioning refrigerant, the system will not cool the house. Therefore you must maintain the refrigerant tubes regularly to prevent any such occurrence.
Get your air conditioning system maintained by RLD services
Now, since you know the ins and out’s of what an ac maintenance checklist looks like, it is time to speed up the efficiency of your AC unit. Proper maintenance will not just keep your system clean and healthy but will also:
- Lower down the bills.
- Enhance the life of the system.
- Save your system against breakdowns.
So what are you waiting for?
Start your HVAC maintenance checklist today, and worry not if you need help because RLD services are always there to your rescue! At RLD, we offer a scheduled tune-up program for your air conditioners, which is easy on your budget and backed by some of the best HVAC experts in town. Call us today to book an appointment!
Here are some of the questions people usually ask:
AC Maintenance checklist FAQ #1: What maintenance does the air conditioning unit need?
Filters, as we know, play a crucial role in the healthy functioning of the air conditioning system.
If the air filters are clogged or dirty, it will decrease the airflow and disrupt the efficiency of your cooling system. So, it is essential to regularly clean or replace the filters.
AC Maintenance checklist FAQ #2: How often does the HVAC system needs to be serviced?
There is a bunch of confusion regarding the frequency of maintaining your air conditioner, but it is safe to get your air conditioner serviced twice a year- Once in spring and once in fall. This way, you’ll ensure that your HVAC system is healthy, clean and functioning at its peak efficiency.
AC Maintenance checklist FAQ #3: What is included in AC servicing?
Here are the steps that are included in an AC servicing:
- Air filter and fin cleaning.
- AC evaporator and condenser coil cleaning.
- Fan cleaning.
- Checking the ductwork and drain pipes for any leaks.
- Checking the coolant level in the air conditioner.
- Overall inspection of the unit.
AC Maintenance checklist FAQ #4: What is preventive maintenance in AC?
It is important and necessary to carry out regular maintenance and AC repair services for a high-functioning cooling system. Preventive care gives your system timely nourishment by reducing the chances of problems while also boosting the life of the equipment and reducing energy consumption levels.
You can carry out some maintenance checklist steps like cleaning the filters because they are easy to remove and clean. You can clean the filters with some water and soap. Let them dry thoroughly and fix them again.
Contact 24/7 to schedule an appointment today.
8040 Deering Ave #5
Canoga Park, CA 91304
Monday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm