Just what would summer be like without central air? In most parts of the country, central air is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Your central aircon condenser system is your lifeline during hot weather, and when it goes on the fritz, no one is happy. Most central air units are connected directly to your home’s forced-air distribution system. The same blower, motor, and ducts that are used to distribute heat are also used to distribute your cool air. Hot air from inside your home flows through your furnace via a return-air duct, and is then moved by the blower across the evaporator coil in your unit and then delivered throughout your vents in order to cool the home.
Replacing Air Filter
The filter of your central air unit should be changed at least once a month, and more often during peak periods of use in order to allow air to properly circulate through the blower. A dirty filter can cause a host of problems for your central air unit. To replace the air filter, locate the filter in your unit. Some may be located on the condenser, while others may be found around the evaporator. Remove any grilles or housing that must be removed in order to access the filter and remove it. Replace the filter with the exact same type of filter. You can find the part number for the filter on the old filter, or simply take the old filter with you to the store when replacing it. Reinstall your central air unit filter, and make certain that the area around the filter is clean and free of debris and dust.
Cleaning the Condenser Coils
The condenser coils on your air conditioning unit should be cleaned at least once each year, preferably at the beginning of the cooling season, but they can be cleaned more often if they are dirty. To begin, shut of the power to the central air unit and turn the thermostat up. Remove the exterior metal grille if necessary, which is usually held on with bolts or screws. Use plastic bags to cover the compressor, motor, and other electrical parts, and then seal them with tape. Gently brush off any visible dirt from the condenser coils, and then use a garden hose to wash the coils from the inside. Allow the unit to dry before taking the plastic bags off of the compressor, motor, and other electrical parts.
Cleaning the Evaporator Drain
The evaporator coils on most central air conditioning units are sealed and can only be accessed by a licensed technician. But you can keep the evaporator drain clean. This is the drain that carries away moisture from the evaporator coils. If you see that there are puddles of water beneath the coils, then the drain pipe is likely clogged with bacteria and algae. Simply disconnect this drain pipe and flush the trap with a hose. Then pour in a tablespoon of bleach and re-attach.