Here are a few steps that every home owner should do at least once or twice a season to ensure proper operation of their air conditioning system:
1. Turn off the power, either at the breaker/fuse box or disconnect.
2. Hose down the condensing coils, taking care to hose from inside to outside.
3. Coat wet coils with a specified condensing coil cleaner (ensure you follow directions on label).
4. Let coils soak for 10 minutes, you should see them start to froth up and all the foam and dirt oozing out between the aluminum fins.
5. Rinse all cleaner off coils, again spray from inside to out.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until no dirt comes out with the foam.
7. Next remove the electrical panel and check for loose, burnt, worn, or broken wires and components. Tighten any loose wires, clean out any cobwebs or spider webs. Canned air works well here.
8. Oil the fan motor, look for yellow caps at base of motor housing (there are usually two); or oil the shaft base then spin the shaft to work the oil into the bearings.
9. Next check that all caps are in place on the refrigerant lines, look for signs of leakage (oily, wet or dirty areas around the fittings may indicate a refrigerant leak.
10. Ensure that all caps are clean and tightly secured.
11. Clean all supply registers, and vacuum out the duct.
12. Clean the return air or replace as needed. Do not use the thin fiber type or foam ones, the heavy paper ones or a good washable horsehair style are the best.
13. Next go to your air handler/furnace and turn off the power.
14. Blow or vacuum out all compartments, check all wiring for loose, worn, burnt or broken components.
15. Remove blower housing/motor. Clean all dirt, and oil motor, check belt if applicable.
16. Replace all components to original configurations and replace all panels.
17. Check and clean the system’s thermostat and check wiring.
18. Turn on all power and check basic operation of all components.
If you notice something that is burnt or worn, please contact a local repairman before attempting further operation. There should be cool air coming out of all supply vents; warm air coming off the condensing unit. The larger suction line should also be very cool to the touch and should be sweating. It is also an excellent idea to turn mowers and weed eaters away from the units when doing yard work. You should hose off units whenever you’ve finished mowing/weeding. Split system condensing units can also be covered during the off seasons.
Stay cool and remember, you just saved yourself a lot of money. Typical service calls can cost $150.00 and up. Not to mention when it is hot, all the repairmen are swamped and you’re likely going to have to wait. Every home should have ample fire detectors and CO2 detectors. This is a good time to check their operation and change any batteries as needed. Enjoy your clean air conditioning system.