Having a central air conditioning system is almost a necessity in some of the hotter climates but it is also a good option in more central and even northern areas where summer temperatures get above 80 degrees.
Maintaining a consistent temperature in your house adds both to the comfort level as well as to the resale value and even the life of your home. Houses that are kept between temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit consistently throughout the year have less cracking, moving and buckling of wood within the house.
Keeping your central air conditioning system functioning is important in maintaining the temperature in the house. There are some general tips for upkeep on a central air conditioning system that are simple and easy to do, however if you have purchased a maintenance contract as part of the installation package of a new system this may be done for you for the period listed in the contract. By correctly maintaining your system you can be assured that it will work longer as well as more efficiently, costing you less in both repair and power bills even as the unit ages.
All central air conditioning units have two separate and different components that are equally important in the functioning and efficiency of the system. The part that is outside is the condenser unit and while it is a sealed unit, it does tend to collect debris, dirt and organic material.
Keeping the condenser clean and free from these items will help with air movement across the condenser coils, making the unit work more efficiently. Some of the basic maintenance that should be done before using the unit for the first time in the spring or summer include cutting down all weeds, grass or bushes that may be drawn into the unit by the fan or may stop the flow of air to the fan.
In addition commercial condenser coil should be used to clean the coil prior to the first use. The fins, the small aluminum pieces around the unit, need to be carefully cleaned with a soft brush or a special fin cleaner. Don’t use water as this can cause the debris to turn into mud and may damage or bend the soft metal the fins are made of.
The evaporator unit in the central air conditioning system is in the house, typically in the main furnace duct just above the furnace in what is know as the plenum. If the plenum is solid, the system will have to be serviced by an A/C technician, but if it is removable the homeowner can do some basic maintenance themselves.
Clean the unit with a cleaning brush, don’t use a cloth that can catch on parts and possibly cause damage. In addition clean the drain pan located below the evaporator. In humid climates where a lot of water will sit in the tray, check to make sure the drain (weep hole) in the tray is clear and add one tablespoon of bleach to prevent the growth of mold and fungus.