Ways to Keep an Air Conditioner in Good Condition

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How to Clean the Evaporator

The evaporator of a central air system can be found directly above the furnace in the plenum. If accessible, it should be cleaned once a year. However, if the plenum is a sealed sheet metal box, it must not be opened. Here are the steps to clean an accessible evaporator:

Step 1: Remove the front foil-wrapped insulation of the plenum. It is likely taped in place, so remove the tape carefully as you will need to replace it later. The access plate is behind the insulation and held by several screws. Remove the screws and lift off the plate.

Step 2: Clean the entire underside of the evaporator unit with a stiff brush. Use a large hand mirror if necessary. If you cannot reach the entire area, slide the evaporator out slightly. The evaporator can be slid out even if it has rigid pipes, but be cautious not to bend the pipes.

Step 3: Clean the tray below the evaporator unit. The tray carries the condensation away from the evaporator. Pour one tablespoon of household bleach into the weep hole in the tray to prevent fungus growth. If the weather is very humid, check the condensate drain and pan every other day. If there is a lot of moisture in the pan, the weep hole from the pan to the drain line may be blocked. Use a piece of wire to open the weep hole.

Step 4: Return the unit to its original position, re-install the plate, and tape the insulation back over it.

Step 5: Turn on the air conditioner and check for air leaks. Use duct tape to seal any leaks.

What You’ll Need

These tools will be required to clean the evaporator:

  • Screwdriver
  • Stiff brush
  • Large hand mirror
  • Household bleach
  • Wire

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1. What is the importance of maintaining an air conditioner?

Maintaining an air conditioner is important for several reasons. First, it helps the unit operate efficiently, which can save you money on your energy bill. Second, regular maintenance can prevent breakdowns and extend the lifespan of the unit. Third, it helps maintain good indoor air quality by removing dirt, dust, and allergens from the air.

2. How often should I clean or replace the air filter?

You should clean or replace the air filter in your air conditioner every one to three months, depending on how often the unit is used and the level of air pollution in your area. A dirty filter can reduce the airflow, which can cause the unit to work harder and use more energy.

3. How can I clean the air filter?

You can clean the air filter by removing it from the unit and gently brushing off the dust and dirt. You can also wash the filter with soap and water, but be sure to let it dry completely before reinstalling it. Some filters are disposable and should be replaced instead of cleaned.

4. What should I do if the air conditioner is not cooling properly?

If your air conditioner is not cooling properly, there could be several reasons. Check the thermostat to make sure it is set to the correct temperature. Make sure the air filter is clean and the airflow is not obstructed. If these steps do not solve the problem, it may be time to call a professional for maintenance or repairs.

5. What are some signs that my air conditioner needs maintenance?

Some signs that your air conditioner needs maintenance include reduced airflow, strange noises, strange odors, and higher than normal energy bills. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to schedule maintenance as soon as possible.

6. How can I improve the efficiency of my air conditioner?

You can improve the efficiency of your air conditioner by keeping the unit clean and well-maintained, sealing any air leaks in your home, using ceiling fans to circulate the air, and using a programmable thermostat to control the temperature.

7. How can I prevent mold growth in my air conditioner?

You can prevent mold growth in your air conditioner by cleaning the unit regularly, emptying the condensate drain pan, and keeping the humidity level in your home below 50%. You can also use an air purifier to remove allergens and mold spores from the air.

8. How can I protect my air conditioner during the winter?

To protect your air conditioner during the winter, you should cover the unit with a waterproof cover or tarp, clean the unit thoroughly, and turn off the power supply. You should also make sure the area around the unit is clear of debris and vegetation.

9. Can I maintain my air conditioner myself, or should I hire a professional?

You can perform some basic maintenance tasks on your air conditioner yourself, such as cleaning the air filter and clearing debris from the outdoor unit. However, more complex tasks, such as refrigerant recharge and electrical repairs, should be performed by a professional.

10. What should I do if I smell a burning odor coming from my air conditioner?

If you smell a burning odor coming from your air conditioner, turn off the unit immediately and call a professional for repairs. A burning odor could indicate a serious problem, such as an electrical issue or a malfunctioning component.

11. How long should my air conditioner last with proper maintenance?

With proper maintenance, an air conditioner can last up to 15 years or more. However, the lifespan of the unit depends on several factors, such as the quality of the unit, the level of maintenance, and the frequency of use.

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