Like the song says, summer, summer, summertime might be time to sit back and unwind… but before you get ready to relax, why not give your air conditioner a tune up to make sure you can unwind in cool comfort this summer?
Whether you have central air conditioning that cools your whole house or window units that keep individual rooms comfortable, a yearly inspection and tune up will increase the efficiency of your air conditioner units so you use less energy. Annual maintenance also help extend the life of your unit and can prevent breakdowns on hot summer days when your AC is working its hardest. Read on for smart tips to keep your unit humming—and cooling more efficiently—all summer long.
Central AC Maintenance
You can hire a professional technician to do a spring tune up or do it yourself. Whichever you choose, the following maintenance should be done:
• Clean and inspect the unit for any damage that might have occurred over the winter; leaves and other debris that collected at the base of the unit should be swept away and trim back foliage to allow for adequate airflow around the condenser
• Clean the coils
• Check electric controls and connections and tighten if necessary; inspect terminals and wires for corrosion and apply a nonconductive coating to prevent any future rust and corrosion from forming
• Check refrigerant levels and top off if levels are low; lines should be checked for leaks and repaired as needed
• Lubricate all moving parts, including the fan and motor
• Flush the condensate drain to prevent clogs
• Replace the filter
• Check ductwork for any leaks; leaky ductwork should be insulated with duct insulation to reduce cooling loss in the summer and heat loss in the winter
Window Unit Maintenance
While they don’t require a technician’s know-how, window units also require some basic maintenance to keep them running efficiently. These simple steps will prolong the life of your unit—and may even shave some money from your monthly cooling costs:
• Clean the filter. A clean filter is essential—not only is it necessary to keep rooms cooler, if the filter is dirty your unit may freeze up. Remove the filter and soak it in warm, soapy water. Let it dry thoroughly before you reinstall it. If the filter is torn or damaged, replace it with a new filter.
• Fine tune the fins. Your air conditioner has two sets of coils that transfer heat from your room to the outside, and each set of coils is covered in metal fins that capture the heat and direct it out. But over time, these fins can get dirty, grimy, and bent. Before you install the unit in your window, unscrew the cover so the fins are exposed. (We strongly suggest doing this outside.) Mix warm water and dish detergent in a bucket and use a soft brush to gently scrub the fins with the cleaning solution. Rinse with clean water and let dry. If the fins are bent, the unit won’t cool as efficiently; you can straighten them with a special tool called a fin comb, which is sold at most hardware stores.
• Clean the fans and drip pan. Your unit has two fans, and both of them can get pretty grimy over time. Use your cleaning solution to scrub dirt from the fans, then rinse them clean with a hose. At the bottom of the unit is a drain pan that collects condensation from the coils; water flows through a drainage hole that can get blocked over time – make sure the hole is clear so water doesn’t back up. If you notice funky smells coming from your air conditioner, drop one of our Odor-Fighting Pan Tablets into the pan to prevent odors and keep the pan clean.
• Once you’ve finished basic maintenance, it’s time to install the unit in your window. Frost King offers a variety of air conditioner brackets and side panels to make sure the unit is installed securely. Watch this video for installation tips:
After installing the unit, add weatherproofing material to keep hot air from seeping in and cold air from seeping out. Our Heavy Duty Air Conditioner Weatherseal can be pressed into place all around the unit where it meets the window frame to block air leaks and reduce vibrations and outside noise.
• Do you have a window unit from upstairs dripping onto a unit on a lower floor? Stop the annoying drip-drip-drip with Frost King’s Plastic Air Conditioner Drip Cushion. The cushion is made of high-density foam and has a magnetic back to hold it securely to the top of your air conditioner unit. Noise problem solved!