Guest Author - Maureen L Staccato
Every A/C unit needs a little TLC to keep it running as effectively and efficiently as possible. Before the summer season rolls in, it is a good idea to have a plan to prevent problems and to ensure your unit works to the best of its ability. Last thing you want is your air unit to fizzle out. Murphy ís Law dictates this would most likely be in the middle of a heat wave. Here are a few quick and easy steps to help make sure you stay cool for the summer.
The first and most imperative thing to do is to clean the filter. All window units have them, either a little piece of foam that has been cut to fit, or an actual frame with some kind of foam or material attached inside.
OK, the precut foam filters are best suited for a quick dip in the sink, a little soapy water; roll it around in your hands, and then a good rinse. Just wring it out to make it damp, put it back in the AC unit, and it will dry itself.
The framed filters get cleaned differently. Next time you vacuum, just put the little brush attachment on to the extension tube, pull out the filter, and suck all the dirt off the nasty side. Then just put it back in, and you are good to go. Manufacturers will recommend cleaning filters once per month but trust me on this; do it every other week and the unit will run just a bit happier, and be as proficient as it can be. I also suggest that when you clean them during the peak season to use a sheet of fabric softener to wipe across your filter. There are particles that are not able to be seen by the naked eye, but if you use this technique, you will be blown away by the amount of dust you were able to pull out using the fabric softener sheet.
Central air systems have an altogether different problem. Since they are located outside, the grate that covers the fan blades can and do let all sorts of debris inside. Old leaves, twigs, grass clippings and sometimes bits of paper and plastic, can accrue to such a degree, that they can block the airflow, or actually restrain the fan from turning successfully
The best advice for this is to get a cover, and after every cooling season, cover it up. But if you donít do that, than here is a good idea to do once per year at the start of the season.
Most metal grates are only attached by 3 or 4 screws. So, making absolutely sure that the AC breaker is turned off, remove the screws and pull off the grate. With a shop vac, preferred, or regular vac, use an extension tube and push it all the way to the bottom. Turn on your vac and suck up everything down there. Also, with some type of cleaner, and my favorite is a product called Simple Green, spray liberally on the blades and carefully, using a damp cloth, wipe them down, both upper and lower sides.
Sucking up the debris makes sure youíll never have an airflow problem, and cleaning the actual fan blades, makes sure they will remain as efficient as when they were brand new.