It’s easy to take your air conditioner for granted when it’s providing efficient and effective service. However, if you don’t focus the proper amount of time on maintenance, you’re putting your entire system at risk. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your air conditioner a minimum of two times per year:
- Before you shut it down for the winter months
- Before you turn it on for the first time in the spring
The AC condenser unit commands the majority of your attention. Here are three steps you can take to clean your unit, thus giving you the peace of mind you’re seeking:
1. Turn Off the Power
Safety is your top priority, so make sure you turn off the power before you begin to clean your condenser unit. You will do this in two places:
- The breaker box located inside your home
- The shut-off box located next to your condenser
Don’t assume that one or the other is good enough. It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with electricity.
2. Remove All Debris
Debris has a tendency to collect against the outside of your condenser. Just the same, smaller pieces of debris can end up inside your unit. For example, when you shut down your AC in the fall, you may find leaves, sticks, and other debris (such as trash) both inside and outside your condenser. Start by removing anything you can see on the outside. From there, remove the fan cage from the unit to access any debris on the inside. Depending on how much there is, you may want to use a vacuum.
3. Clean the Fins
Turn on your garden hose and with a gentle stream of water, clean the fins from the inside out. This removes any debris that you were unable to reach with your hands or a vacuum. Note: don’t use a pressure washer, as it can cause more harm than good. Once the fins are clean, inspect them for damage. You may find that some are bent, thus restricting airflow. Gently straighten them, using a straight edge tool or butter knife.
Winter HVAC Cleaning Tips
When cold air starts moving into the Boston area, it’s time to inspect your HVAC system and complete any required maintenance. Here are some winter HVAC cleaning tips to guide you:
- Replace your furnace filter (get into the habit of doing so every three months)
- Cover your air conditioner condenser unit to protect it against freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and debris
- Clean your air ducts
- Switch your thermostat from “cool to off” or “cool to heat”
If you neglect to take these steps before winter arrives, you could run into two problems:
- More work when winter weather gives way to spring and summer
- Damage to your system over the winter months
Even if you enjoy the cold weather and snow, your air conditioner doesn’t feel the same way. Don’t wait too long to clean your air conditioner, as this will cost you time and money down the road. Contact us if you need reliable HVAC maintenance in Boston to get ready for Spring or help winterizing your HVAC system in Fall!
DIY Air Conditioning