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Inexpensive DIY Maintenance Tips for your Central Air Conditioning

Replace or clean the air filters-  Basic air conditioning maintenance starts with simply cleaning or replacing all of the system’s air filters on a regular basis; typically, every 90-days.  Failure to do so can clog the evaporator coil restricting the air flow. This will cause the system to work harder and less efficiently ultimately resulting in premature system failure or component damage.

Clean debris from the outside perimeter of the exterior condensing unit- The exterior condensing unit needs to be kept clean to properly release the heat absorbed by the refrigerant.  It’s very common for leaves, mulch, or grass clippings to become stuck to the outside of the condenser fins over time.  Carefully remove the debris to restore or maintain optimum system performance.

Make sure the exterior unit(s) are level-  It is common for units to slant or lean over time due to erosion.  Manufacturers require the exterior condensing units be level and bearing on a proper pad (typically plastic) as units more than 10-15 degrees out of level can permanently damage the compressor (the most expensive component) resulting in system replacement.  This can easily be accomplished by shimming the pad with a weather resistant material (ceramic or plastic).

Maintain the foam insulation on the large refrigerant line-  It is common for the insulation to degrade from exterior exposure or damage from lawn care equipment over time.  This could result in energy loss and excessive condensation causing the system to work harder and displacement of the condensing unit.  The foam tube insulation is inexpensive, easy to replace, and available at most home improvement stores.

Keep vegetation away from the perimeter of the condensing unit- Manufacturers require at least 2 feet of space around the perimeter of the exterior units.  All plantings should be trimmed to maintain the required perimeter for efficient component function.  Failure to do so will cause inefficient function ultimately reducing the life-span of the system.