Keep Your A/C Running Smoothly This Fall and Winter

 

As the colder seasons roll around, Snyder AC can be of great help in teaching Northeast Florida homeowners how to best prepare their air conditioning units for the chilly weather ahead.

Fortunately, A/C maintenance can be quite simple and hassle-free when taken care of routinely and on-time. However, if you neglect A/C repairs for too long, you may find it breaking down when it is least convenient – such as in aforementioned colder seasons, when the temperature outside is dropping fast.

Timely A/C repair is important not only for maintaining a comfortable temperature around your home, but also for saving money and extending your air conditioner’s lifespan. Therefore, it is essential that homeowners take the following A/C maintenance tips to heart just before the cold seasons begin.

If you have a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home, then it includes either a furnace and air conditioner unit or a heat pump that can heat and cool your home. Regardless of what your HVAC system consists of, our tips below still apply: both types of HVAC systems that we described above have interior units and exterior units that can be maintained regularly.

Clean Your AC Unit

When discussing AC maintenance tips for the fall and winter, it’s usually a good idea to start with cleaning your unit. First thing’s first: power off your unit to avoid hazardous conditions when working around electricity and the many moving parts of your unit. Completely shut off your air conditioner by using your exterior shut-off box that’s typically located somewhere close to your unit

With our air conditioning unit powered down, it’s time to clear the debris inside. Start by taking off your A/C unit’s fan cage that’s found on the exterior condenser/compressor. You can usually accomplish this with a wrench or screwdriver, after which you can take off your unit’s fasteners to lift away your cage or fan grill.  Use a wet/dry vacuum or simply use your hands to start removing debris such as leaves and dirt from the inside of your air conditioning unit. 

Pay particular attention to your fins as you clean your air conditioner. You’ll want to take off your unit’s outer covers and then use either a brush attachment or industrial-grade vacuum to suck up dirt that’s accumulated on your fins. Consider using a stream of water from something such as your garden hose to get rid of any remaining gunk that’s gotten wedged between your fins. The team at Snyder AC recommends that you do not use a pressure washer – pressure washers can actually damage your unit’s fins, which are relatively delicate and sensitive to too much force. Not feeling comfortable cleaning out your A/C unit yourself? The experts at Snyder AC have the proper tools and experience to return your air conditioner quickly and efficiently to a condition that’s as good as new. 

Clean Your Evaporator Coil

Let’s turn toward your evaporator coil and move on inside. You’ll find your evaporator coil door located on the inside blower or furnace unit that your system uses. After you’ve removed some foil duct tape and taken off a few screws or bolts, you can use a soft brush to begin dusting away your evaporator coil. Spray your coil with a no-rinse cleaning solution, which you can usually spot at any home improvement store located near you.

Now begin to clean out your coil’s drain pan with a little bit of hot water and some bleach. As an added measure, pour a cup of 50 percent bleach/50 percent water down the drain. You can keep your drain cleaner for longer by placing a commercially available drain pan tablet in your coil’s pain to keep things such as algae and microbial growth at bay. 

Warm, humid air from your home’s interior is blown through the evaporator coil on the interior. The cold coil absorbs heat from the air, cooling it, before the air is circulated back into your home. The humidity in the air condenses on the cool surface of the evaporator coil as liquid water, dripping into a pan below. From the pan, the water flows into a drain tube which is typically routed into a basement floor drain, utility sink or outside.

Clean Your Evaporator Drain

It’s finally time to tackle your evaporator drain before you turn your unit back on. Unwanted debris such as algae and microbial growth can, over time, build up in your evaporator drain and potentially cause it to become clogged. If you notice that your evaporator drain is having a hard time flowing, it’s likely the case that you need to unplug it. Unplug your drain as soon as possible to prevent damage to your home’s floors due to flooding. The team at Snyder AC can help you quickly determine whether your drain isn’t flowing fast enough or not flowing at all. 

You’ll want to first locate your drain line when it’s time to clean your evaporator drain. Find the drain line that leaves your evaporator coil’s enclosure (it’s typically a 1-inch PVC pipe that’s white, gray, or black) and follow it all the way to where it drains water. Your line most likely drains outside near your condenser unit, although it may be draining into a basement floor drain or utility sink instead. 

Once located, use a wet/dry vacuum to clear the drain. It’s best to remove the paper filter from the wet/dry vacuum so as not to ruin the filter. Hold the hose of the wet/dry vacuum to the end of the drain line. You can use duct tape or simply hold a rag around the gap. Turn on the vacuum for a moment, then turn it off to clear your drain of microbial growth.

The Snyder AC team emphasizes that, while the above steps can keep your A/C unit in tip-top shape for the cold seasons and beyond, it’s sometimes best to have a trained team of HVAC technicians to double-check your unit for anything you’ve missed. Living in or around Northeast Florida? Call us today at (904) 454-5406 for an inspection of your AC unit to ensure it’s ready for the fall and winter seasons!

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