Cleaning the air conditioner or heating system twice a year is a must. You can do the cleaning yourself or you can hire the services of a professional contractor who is specialized in HVAC cleaning and repair.
The central air conditioning system of your house needs cleaning at least once in every six months. Here are a few things that you need to check every time it is time to clean the air conditioning system.
In winter, make sure you cover the outdoor unit of your air conditioner with plywood. This will prevent ice from falling on it or creating any other damage.
Make sure you do not wrap the unit with plastic. Do not even use any other material that will completely block the airflow. If you do so, moisture will get trapped inside and result in corrosion.
Turn the power off and feel the pipes. See if they are warm and cool.
Turn the power on and get the thermostat going so that the outdoor unit starts working. Listen to sound and pay careful attention to pick up any odd noises that may be an indication of a prospective damage.
Let the unit run for 10 minutes. Then pull back the insulation on the insulated tube. This tube or pipe should be cool, about 60 degrees. The other pipe connected to the unit should be warm, at skin temperature. If either are not so, there is something wrong and only professional help can prove helpful in checking the refrigerant level.
Next comes your compressor. Surprisingly, the compressor can be termed as the most fragile component of your air conditioner. Do not start your outdoor unit immediately, if you have just cleaned it when the power to your compressor has been off for more than four hours.
Let the outdoor unit have the power on for 24 hours before you switch the unit on. Remember to start the thermostat on its cooling mode and set the temperature before you turn the outdoor unit on.
Treat the compressor with care. Never start the air conditioner before five minutes since it has been switched off. The compressor needs time to ‘decompress’ before it can start again. If the compressor is started sooner, the motor gets stressed and this will affect the working life and efficiency of the compressor.
The furnace filter needs to be changed if it is dirty. The filter needs to be dust-free, only then the evaporator coil fins will clean. Before you pull out the filter, turn off the power that is supplied to the furnace, if not the dust within will not only blow throughout the system, but also on your face. Clean the filter or replace it with a new one, depending on how clogged it is.
Vacuum the bottom side of the fins of the evaporator coil. You can use a soft brush attachment for doing this. If you would rather not do the cleaning, hire a professional to do so. You will not need to clean the evaporator coil if the air that flows in is clean.
The plenum houses the evaporator coil, which dehumidifies the air indoors as cools it. Condensation takes place and the water that condenses on the coil comes out through the condensation tube. Ensure that this tube is not clogged. There may be sludge and algae inside the tube or at the drain port. Having a flexible tube will be easy to pull off and clean.
Apply five drops of special oil for electric motors if the fan motor has lubrication ports.