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A/C Maintenance

A/C - Maintenance

Spring is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about getting your central air conditioner ready for the dog days of summer. Your home's heating and cooling systems should give you many years of service with proper maintenance. Preventive maintenance will lower your energy costs, prevent costly repairs and prolong the life of your systems. Regular maintenance will ensure that your system is ready to heat and cool your home when needed. Most heating and cooling systems should be serviced once a year by a professional heating or cooling contractor. The professional contractor has the tools, instruments and training necessary to maintain your system for dependable, trouble-free operation. The contractor should inspect your systems, including the thermostat, the blower motor and fans the ducting as well as the AC condenser and evaporator units, the furnace gas connections and heat exchanger and complete necessary maintenance tasks and adjust the entire system for optimal performance.

Here are some things that you can do.

Filters :Inspect air filters and clean or replace as necessary.

Registers : Reduce dust in your home by vacuuming heat registers and the cold air return as part of your regular cleaning.

Ducts: Examine exposed supply ducts for gaps or leaks allowing heated air to escape. Look for gaps and run your hand along exposed supply ducts with the blower running to feel for escaping air. Seal any leaks with duct tape.

Listen : Listen to your condenser, evaporator and furnace when they are running. If you hear unusual noises, follow the appliance manual's directions or consult with your professional heating contractor.

Obstructions : Remove any objects or debris that may have fallen through the registers. Remove any drapes, furniture or other objects blocking registers, interrupting airflow and lowering your system's efficiency.

Condensate Removal : One of the most inconvenient and costly home repairs - ceiling/floor damage is due to evaporator coil condensate overflow. It is preventable.

Each unit has a primary drain to handle the amazing amount of moisture an evaporator coil can produce (up to 50 gallons on a very hot, very humid day!). If the primary drain line becomes clogged the drain pan under the evaporator coil and it's attached drain secondary drain line are supposed to handle the water - often they do not, resulting in costly and unsightly ceiling and floor damages.

If you have upper floor or attic mounted evaporator coils (they're the ones inside your house - the condenser is the one on the outside) make sure you check the drain lines and drain pans. The auxiliary drain needs to have a separate drain line! Too often, I see the auxiliary drain line tied into the main drain line. The drain line for the auxiliary drain pan really needs to terminate at a conspicuous area. Over a door or window would do best. When you see moisture dripping from the auxiliary drain line, go check the drain pan under the evaporator. If it has water in it - the primary drain line is clogged and you should call a professional.

To kill fungus, prevent organic build up and keep your primary drain running smoothly, pour one cup of a 50/50 solution of bleach and water into the opening at the condensate drain line where it leaves the evaporator coil. Doing this in the spring and fall will also help prevent condensate from backing up and flooding.

Make sure the drain pan opening to the secondary drain line (usually white PVC) is not clogged with organic material, insulation or other debris. If the line is visible make sure it has a downhill slope to the outside (they are often jostled about or stepped on in the attic).

HVAC systems, like cars, will run better and last longer with proper care and maintenance. But not many of us really know what to do to maintain them. Most of us have lots of questions like "How often should I change my filters? If I use a media filter (the special, big, expensive 4" thick ones) should I also use the disposable ones in return air chases?" etc., etc. HVAC-Talk (Click Here) is a really good place to go for information. Click on "HVAC Forum" to get free information, advice and suggestions from HVAC pros.

 

John Harashinski

On The Level Home Inspections

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated  04.02.2013