There are a few common signs that Spring is in the air – the grass starts turning greener, the flowers start blossoming, the birds return to roost, and thousands of Canadians can be seen lugging their air conditioner units into their windows. While air conditioner installation can be a daunting task the job is far from over once your room starts cooling down. To ensure maximum efficiency and to make sure your unit has as long of a life as possible these proper maintenance tips should be followed.
Installing an air conditioner in your Edmonton home is an important investment to improve your family’s comfort. Consider these 9 things before replacing your air conditioner.
Clear the Area Around the Air Conditioner
One thing that can inhibit your air conditioner’s performance is blockage around the area. A good part of air conditioner installation at the beginning of the year should be clearing the location around the A/C of shrubs, weeds, and dirt piles. When this debris gets into the unit it builds up on condenser coils and restricts the air flow in the air conditioner which greatly reduces its life. Plus the more debris around the area the quicker that the filter will become clogged which reduces the air purity in your house and increases utility bills.
Level the Condenser
A slanted condenser will still work but if the angle becomes too great you could see problems with the fan blade and compressor mounting plus a straightened unit is more aesthetically pleasing. Often times the pad that your central air conditioner unit sits on will shift over the years and you’ll need to dig underneath to displace more dirt or shim the setup up completely.
Replace and Clean Filters Regularly
One of the most frequent maintenance routines you should perform after the air conditioner installation is changing the air filters. Clogged or just dirty air filters will restrict the air flow that is so essential to a properly functioning unit and will reduce your system’s efficiency immensely. Filters are designed to be replaced easily and you should purchase multiple ones at a time. While some people might not like the expense of buying and changing filters regularly, they actually save money because a clean piece can increase efficiency by up to 15 percent.
Clean Condenser Coils
A clean air filter reduces the amount of dirt that collects on your condenser coils but over time the unit still accumulates debris. A dirty evaporator coil can’t absorb as much heat and restricts the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Blow out the condenser coils with compressed air as part of your regular air conditioning maintenance.
Straighten Coil Fins
The fins that align both the evaporator and condenser coils are made of aluminum and can easily become bent. The crooked fins end up blocking the airflow through the coil and end up causing the unit to run higher and lose efficiency. Luckily these fins can easily be shaped back into place with a tool known as a comb fin. When you run the comb fin over the coils they pop back into place in an almost like new condition.
Clear Out Drains
Many air conditioners have one or even two condensation lines that come out of them for proper dispersing of water produced by the cooling process. If you have two drains one of them is known as a primary and the other a secondary in case the first one gets clogged. Either way you should check these drains to make sure debris isn’t lodged in them by passing a stiff wire through them. When the drains are clogged the unit can’t reduce the humidity which may cause damage and uncomfortability in your home.
Replace Window Seal
The rubber window seal that helps create a closed space after your air conditioner installation will be prone to wearing away and corrosion over the years because of the exposure to moisture. This seal should be inspected before the start of the season and regularly throughout the summer. When the seal is damaged cold air will escape out causing your room to not only be warmer but your A/C to run higher which raises your utility bills.
Get a Professional Inspection
While most air conditioner installation maintenance can be a DIY project, there are certain instances when your best bet is to call in the air conditioner installation professionals. By taking your window unit to a service personnel you can get a ‘fresh start’ so to speak and get the longest life from your A/C. A maintenance service can perform the following:
- Check refrigeration levels to ensure the proper amount
- Use a leak detector to check for any refrigeration leaks
- Properly capture and dispose of refrigeration instead of illegally putting it into the environment
- Inspect for any duct leakage in central air systems
- Test the evaporator coil for proper airflow
- Verify electrical control and ensure that heating and cooling systems can’t operate simultaneously
- Inspect and repair electrical terminals while cleaning and inspecting connections
- Oil motors and check belts for proper tightness
- Ensure thermostat is reading accurately
Once your air conditioning unit has made it through another hot Edmonton summer, your last step of the season is to remove and store a window unit properly. If storing in a garage, make sure the A/C is covered and protected from rodents. Central air conditioners should also be covered for protection from snow, cold weather, and debris. By taking proper precautions in the cold months you’ll improve the chances for a successful air conditioner installation next spring.
Your air conditioner installation is a lifesaver in the summer and it doesn’t ask much of you in return except some adequate regular maintenance. While the preceding steps might seem painstaking and annoying, they pale in comparison to shoveling out money for a new unit after only a year or two and repeating the air conditioner installation procedures twice or more in a summer!