AC Maintenance

Things You Can Do

8 Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

You'll find a maintenance section in your air conditioner's owner's manual. It says "in addition to the maintenance you perform you should have your system inspected regularly by properly trained technicians". This page will go over some simple things you can and should do yourself to make sure your air conditioner has a fighting chance to make it through the summer.

1. Keep outside unit clear of obstructions

The primary function of the outside condensing coil is to cool the refrigerant that is pumped back and forth from the evaporator coil in the house. The only way it can do this is with the air outside.

The large fan on the top of the unit is trying to pull air through the sides and across the refrigerant lines. Make sure there is nothing obstructing this process. Including bushes and shrubs. Many people plant them to hide the outside air conditioning unit and over time they can grow over the unit making it more difficult for the air to flow freely. Trim bushes as often as needed to maintain 18 - 24 inches of clearance around the air conditioner.

NOTE: If you cover the outdoor unit for the winter, be sure to uncover it before the system turns on in the spring.

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2. Rinse outside coil with water

When the large fan on the top of the outside unit is running, it creates a vacuum effect, pulling in air from all around it. Throughout the spring and summer, the air has dirt, pollen, grass clippings, cottonwood fuzz, leaves, and all kinds of debris in it. All of that collects over time and decrease the airflow causing your system to have to work harder and possibly fail.

Turn the power off to the unit but pulling the AC disconnect or shutting off the breaker. Use a garden hose and rinse the coils. Spray the water from the inside out undiluted the water runs clear. This can be done throughout the summer, as you notice the coils getting dirty. Be sure to reconnect the power when you’re done.

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3. Visual inspection

Your air conditioner is engineered to be out in the elements and the weather. It is still a good idea to check it every year to make sure nothing looks out of the norm.

Check the electrical connections to make sure there are no exposed wires. Make sure that the refrigerant lines still have the insulation around them. Check to make sure the system is level, that the ground hasn’t shifted. This can put extra strain on the connections and cause the compressor not to work properly.

NOTE: If you notice any repairs that need to be made, that you are not comfortable with, contact an HVAC company for help. If you are in the Utah market, Any Hour Services can help.

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4. Check your air filter

Airflow is just as important inside as it is outside. Making sure you have a clean air filter is the easiest thing you can do to help prevent breakdowns. Just like most things that are simple to do, it is easy not to do. We get busy and forget about it, sometimes until there is a breakdown. You only need to replace the filter when it gets dirty but most people don’t know how long it takes to get dirty so I recommend that you check it each month until you become familiar with how often it needs to be changed.

Go to wherever your filter is located, usually by the furnace or in a return air vent, take the filter out and hold it up to the light. If you can't see light through it, you’re not getting enough air through it.

When installing the new air filter, pay attention to the airflow direction arrow on the side. Make sure the air is flowing across the filter in that direction.

NOTE: Pleated filters do a better job filtering the air and last longer because there is more surface area for the air to flow over. You can write the date you install the filter on the site to see how long you go between replacing them. You can set a reminder on your phone to remind you to check it each month.

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5. Turn off the humidifier

If you have a whole home humidifier, summer it the time you should turn it off. As the air circulated through your home and across the evaporator coil, heat and moisture are removed from the air. Leaving the humidifier on just makes your system work a little harder.

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6. Check Drain for Clogs

As the moisture is removed from the air, it collects in the drain pan under the evaporator coil. It is connected to a PVC pipe that either runs to a floor drain or into a small box called a condensate pump. If that drain line gets plugged up with gunk water can start to flow over the sides of the drain pan and drip down on the other components of the furnace causing damage, not to mention the damage to the floors as the system floods.

I like to take a cup of water and pour down the drain line and make sure you see it come out the other end. I have had my line clog and all I had to do was blow on the end and a glob of gunk came out the other end and it was fine for the rest of the year.

NOTE: If you notice a smell coming from that drain line, you can add bleach to the water you pour down and that should help clean it.

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7. Check the thermostat

Just last year we were filming a video at my house and it started getting really hot. I thought maybe it was the lights but come to find out the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air. I started going through our simple troubleshooting steps before I called a technician to come and look at it. When I got to this step it fixed it. For me, it was as simple as replacing the batteries.

Once a year, around the time I’m changing the batteries in my smoke detectors, I like to replace the batteries in my thermostat. You can also grab a visual read thermometer and make sure the readout on the screen matches, just to make sure it is still working properly.

NOTE: If you try this as a troubleshooting step, shut the power off to the system and then turn it back on so that it has a chance to “reboot”. It’s what I had to do.

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8. Regular dealer maintenance

There are some things the manufacturer recommends you have inspected on your air conditioner once a year, by a technician that has all the right tools and gauges. You want to make sure that all of the components are still running within the parameters set by the manufactures.

Make sure that whoever performs your annual maintenance, checks all the vital components, documents what they find, answer all your questions and leave you with a full written report. You should know more about the condition of your system after they are done than before they started.

Any Hour Services calls these recommended maintenance and inspection items an air conditioner tune-up. If you are in the Utah market and you don’t know anyone, we would be happy to help with this service. Find out more about our air conditioner tune-up or to schedule an appointment.

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Along For The Ride

Meet Brady, a tune-up technician. And see what a day in the life of a tune-up technician is like.

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Easy Online Booking

Answer a few questions, select your appointment date, and we'll dispatch our expert technicians.

Schedule Online with Any Hour Services Get Started Now

For Emergencies Call

801-443-7272

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We’ll never rush you into a decision, but will take the time to help you understand your AC problem. There’s no such thing as too many questions. We know you have lots of choices as far as HVAC companies. We want to help and hope you will give us an opportunity to prove the things listed above are not just a list on a website but the way we strive to do business.

If you still have questions or would like to schedule a AC maintenance service, give us a call and let us know how we can help.

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