Depending on your location in south Florida, nearly 50% of your utility budget goes to cooling your home. That “cool” comes from central air systems; room air conditioners; ductless mini-split systems that cool the air in different zones of your home; and evaporative coolers that take outside air, cool it with evaporated water, then circulate cool air inside. Americans spend about $11 billion each year to keep their air conditioning systems running. These maintenance tips will apply to central air systems.
The greater the efficiency of your AC system, the lower the cost will be. To help keep your system running efficiently you should first learn about the key components of the system. Those are the filters, coils, fins, and condenser.
Filters are located in the air intake part of your indoor AC unit. Filters remove particles from the incoming air. Use replaceable pleated filters that are the correct size. They’re easy to find, easy to remove, and easy to replace every month. Be sure to install the filters in the same direction as the air flow.
Fins (also called “coil fins”) are the slats on your outdoor air condenser. To work at peak efficiency, the fins need to be straight, not crimped or bent. Fins can get damaged if something like a chunk of wood is hurled into your outdoor condenser during a violent storm. If you cannot “comb,” or straighten the fins, call a professional HVAC contractor to do it.
Condenser is the outdoor component of your AC system and includes the “hot coils” that release collected heat back outdoors; a compressor that moves the liquid refrigerant between the evaporator and the condenser to cool the indoor air; and a fan that blows air over the condenser to dissipate the hot air. Check your condenser. Listen to the way it sounds when it is running normally. Keep leaves, limbs and other foliage from blocking the condenser. Make sure your dryer vent is NOT blowing on your condenser.
Coils are on both the indoor and the outdoor parts of your system. The coils evaporate the water produced in the air cooling process. Given their importance to the overall system, coil maintenance and cleaning should be handled by an HVAC professional only. Proper coil cleaning requires that they be removed and given an acid wash. Coils must then be re-soldered back into the unit by the HVAC professional.
If maintaining your system becomes problematic, turn to a local HVAC professional to help service your air conditioning system. American Air Cares has a dedicated team of professionals ready and willing to provide the highest quality air conditioning system service available.
Understanding when to repair and when to replace your AC is just as important as knowing these key components to maintain. Next time, we’ll look at how to know if your AC system needs professional help.