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How To Maintain And Clean Your Air Conditioner To Keep It Running Like New

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Your air conditioner plays a big part in keeping your home comfortable throughout the summer season. Without it, those sweltering days and nights will make you feel miserable. If you don't have central air, you can, of course, stay cool by getting out of the house and going somewhere that is cool or using fans or even window air conditioner units. But if you have a central air conditioning unit, you need to be sure to treat it well by following a preventative maintenance schedule and keeping it clean to prevent a breakdown of your system. See below for some maintenance tips and cleaning instructions to help your system continue to run like new.

Maintenance Of Your Central A/C Unit

Turn Off The Power. Begin by turning the power off to your unit. Like all appliances that have electricity running to it, the power should always be turned off to ensure you do not get electrocuted while performing any type of maintenance or repair. You can turn off the power at the breaker box, or you can turn off the power at the disconnect on the wall of your home (usually within just a few feet).

Remove The Lid. Use a nut driver to remove the nuts holding the lid in place, then carefully lift it (there will be some wires attached). Remove any leaves or other debris inside that may prevent your unit from running properly.

Remove The Panels/Cage. Depending on the type of system you have, remove the panels or the cage surrounding the unit. At this point, you should have the fins exposed. Be very careful near these fins (they bend easily), and use a butter knife (or a fin straightening tool) to straighten any damaged or bent fins. Damaged/bent fins can cause a blockage in the air flow. If you have a lot of bent fins, you may want to call in a professional repairman for help.

Level The Unit. Check that your unit is still level. The unit can become un-level with time due to sinking soil below the pad your unit is sitting on. If the unit isn't level, try to use shims to level it again.

Change The Filters. The filter in your HVAC system should be changed every two to three months, or more often if you have pets or anyone in your home that may have breathing problems. Replace the old filter with a new one of the exact same size.

Cleaning Your Central A/C Unit

Clean Up Brush. Clean up brush around your unit such as weeds, leaves, and any other type of landscaping growing too closely to your unit. This can all cause a blockage of air flow to your system.

Spray Down Your Unit. Using your garden hose, spray your unit down gently to remove dust, grass clippings, and cottonwood that may have built up on your unit. Be careful when spraying that you don't bend the fins with too strong of a spray. Also spray down the inside of your unit, but don't get the motor wet.

Maintaining and cleaning your central air conditioning unit will help ensure a longer life of your unit. Contact a professional HVAC technician, such as those at Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc., to have your unit maintained and cleaned for you before the beginning of each summer season.