With summer coming to an end in Portland, now is a good time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.
If you haven’t cleaned it lately, it could be full of mud and debris from your yard. This accumulation can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down more quickly.
We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on energy bills.
Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and take care of minor issues before they become expensive problems.
Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing
Some of the work we perform involves:
- Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
- Watching pressure and temperature
- Reviewing lines, refrigerant levels and connections
You can still have maintenance done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.
There’s also some work you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few pieces on your indoor HVAC system.
Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?
Tips for Cleaning the Outside AC Unit
Select a temperate day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test the unit once you’ve cleaned it.
You’ll only need a handful of things:
- Wet-dry vacuum and hose with a soft brush attachment
- Butter knife
- Damp rag
- Small, round paintbrush
- Replacement furnace filter (if necessary)
Related: How AC Repair and Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money
Five Steps to Follow as You Clean the Outside Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Switch off the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.
2. Clean the Outside
Remove waste from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.
Then turn on the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These parts are also called condenser coils and transfer heat away from your unit.
You need to be careful with these fine coils. Warped or crumpled fins can affect efficiency.
3. Fix Bent Fins
Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance part store. A pro from Three Rivers Heating & Cooling should take care of large amounts of damage.
4. Clean the Inside
After removing the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet rag.
The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re done.
5. Test Your Air Conditioner
You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running correctly, contact us a call at 503-213-4433.
Related: Air Conditioner Service: Pay a Little Now, Save Later
After, Three Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit
1. Turn Off the Power
Turn off the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.
2. Check Your Filter
Furnace filters must be exchanged every few months, depending on the model you use.
Unsure when you last checked yours? Remove it and angle it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, replace it.
3. Clean the Inside
Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.
Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can sanitize it by flowing watered-down bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can replace the tube.
Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and restore power.
Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Well Through Fall
Never Forget About Maintenance Again
Annual air conditioner maintenance from Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your routine service!