Your A/C unit is vital to maintaining the comfort and livability of your home, especially during the summer months in an area like Tampa, where the humidity can make an A/C-less home a nightmare. A serviceable, reliable unit isn’t even considered a luxury in the area; it’s a necessity, and having one peter out unexpectedly is something you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
Instead of crossing that bridge when you come to it and being forced to shell out hard-earned money to pay a technician to repair the entire unit, you can take some fairly simple steps at home to ensure your unit stays in tip-top shape. Acree Plumbing & Air has a few DIY tips you can follow to regularly check up on your A/C unit, which will hopefully keep it running without a hitch and keep it from deciding to clunk out when you least expect it. You’ll stay cool, you’ll save money by keeping its efficiency up, and you’ll keep it running longer. A win-win-win!
- Before you get anywhere near the inside of your unit, shut off the power – accidentally having the fan blades spin while you’re working on it… wouldn’t be good. You can switch it off either by flipping the breaker itself or turning the switch off near the condenser. Actually, go ahead and do both. Better safe than sorry.
Cleaning the Condenser
- Grab a screwdriver, pry open the fasteners on the grill covering the fan and flip it open. Once inside, you’ve got free reign to clean the blades and vacuum out all the debris that may have accumulated on it. Clean the fins in the radiator as well by gently using a hose from the inside – don’t use a pressure washer, which will damage the malleable metal fins.
Replace the Filter
- Every few months, replace the filter in the unit – you’ll keep the air flowing well and ensure the air quality remains high. The slot for the filter should be inside, right where the air-return duct links up with the main unit. Be sure to get a new filter that has the same rating as your previous one.
- Brush off the evaporator coils above the blower motor and apply some coil cleaner to them. The cleaner will drip into the evaporation drain pan below, which you should also clean off with some soap and water.
- Pour a bleach/water mix down the drain. If it funnels out properly, you won’t need to do anything to the drain. But if it’s not, there’s probably some algae growing in there that has clogged it up. Find where the drain empties out – usually a small, neutral-colored pipe – and attach a vacuum hose to it.
A Few Extra Ways
These last few boxes to check off don’t require as much mechanical know-how, but they can help just the same.
- Is the A/C level? Over time, it can start to tilt when the soil underneath settles and forms around it, and your unit can start to underperform when everything gets out of whack. Even it out, fill the space with dirt or shims, and you’ll be back in business.
- Check the electrical components. Is everything secure? Are the wires frayed, or are there signs of overheating? It might be time to get them fixed or replaced.
- Clear out the space surrounding the A/C. Branches, leaves and any obstructions close the unit can hamper its effectiveness, and certain darker conditions can be a breeding ground for pests.
Hopefully these tips can help you keep your A/C unit running smoothly and dodge any costly repairs. By following this loose schedule of routine maintenance, you’ll save energy, money and time in the long run, keeping you and your family happy and comfortable as we inch closer to the doldrums of another Tampa summer. However, if something beyond your control does unfortunately happen to the unit, the professionals at Acree Plumbing & Air are equipped to handle every aspect of A/C maintenance, and we’d be glad to help you out. Give us a call at (813) 524-6313 today and let us take care of it!