How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

By Robert Robillard on Home Repairs And Remodeling

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Maintaining An Air Conditioner

Keeping your central air conditioner running in top shape during the super hot days means you need to maintain it.  This article will explain how to maintain an air conditioner.

Air conditioner problems often start when the compressor or condenser coil becomes so blocked up with dirt that the hot gas in the condenser coil does not cool enough to change the hot gas back to a liquid form. When this happens cooling does not happen and then air conditioner compressor can break down.

Cleaning The Condenser:

In most air-conditioning systems, the condenser unit is located outside the house and is always full of dirt and debris from trees, lawn mowing, pollen, and airborne dust.

The condenser has a fan that moves air across the condenser coil.

Here’s how to clean the condenser:

Step 1:

  • Turn off the power at the main circuit breaker and also at the condenser unit which should be located next to the condenser unit.

Step 2:

  • Using a nut driver, remove screws on the top access panel. The fan is part of this access panel.
  • Tilt the top off and lean it against the house or lay it off to the side, the fan unit has wires attached to it and you need to be careful not to stress the electrical connection.


How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 3:

  • Clean the blower’s fan blades.  Use a rag to wipe them off and scoop up or vacuum any debris at the base of the equipment.
  • Tighten the mounting bolts on the motor and lubricate any oil cups on the motor according to the manufacturer’s directions.  [Only use recommend motor oil]

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

 

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 4:

  • Remove debris from the bottom of the unit. I use a shop vac to reach.
How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 5:

  • Use a garden sprayer to apply commercial coil cleaner [available at refrigerator supply stores] to the coils from the outside, and then from the inside of the unit, rinsing off the coils from both sides.
    Clean fins very carefully: They’re made of light-gauge aluminum and are easily damaged.
  • Use a soft brush to clean accumulated dirt.
  • It’s best not to clean the fins with a garden hose, as water could turn dirt into mud and compact it between fins. If you do use a hose make sure to use light “spray” pressure.
  • Re-install fan top panel when done.

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 6:

  • Remove or trim any bushes, grass, or weeds near the condenser that may restrict airflow through the unit.

Step 7:

  • Check concrete pad on which condenser rests to make sure it’s level. Level front to back and side to side on top of the unit.
  • If the pad has settled, lift pad with a pry bar or piece of 2-by-4, then force gravel or rock shims under the pad to level it.

Step 8:

  • Turn back on the air conditioner.
Cleaning the Evaporator

The evaporator for the air conditioner system is located directly above the plenum and this unit is usually inside the house.

Step 1:

  • Turn off power at service switch and main breaker. Remove the access panel with a nut driver.

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 2: 

  • Use a garden sprayer to apply commercial coil cleaner [available at refrigerator supply stores] to the coils from the outside, and then from the inside of the unit. rinsing off the coils from both sides.

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

 

  • Clean the evaporator coils from the top down.
  • Spray the coils and allow it to soak a few minutes.
  • Using a wet vac, remove the foam from the coils by carefully sliding it up and down the face until all the foam is removed. Re-apply the cleaning solution in the same manner as above, allow to sit, then re-vac the foam.
  • Clean fins very carefully: They’re made of light-gauge aluminum and are easily damaged.
  • Use a soft brush to clean accumulated dirt.

 

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner
Step 3:
  • Clean the tray below the evaporator unit. This tray carries condensation away from the evaporator.
  • In extremely humid weather, check condensate drain and pan. If there’s much moisture in the pan, weep hole from pan to drain line may be clogged.
  • Open weep hole with a piece of wire.
How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

Step 4:

  • Reinstall access panel.

Step 5:

  • Replace the filter.

Step 6:

  • Turn back on the air conditioner. If your unit has an overflow pan and float shutoff switch test the switch by gently lifting it up.

 

How To Maintain An Air Conditioner

 

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Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob If you have a building or remodeling question you can have rob respond to your answer via video. Click here for more information. https://jointruly.com/robillard Invite code: x22r2

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