Make A List Check It Twice: AC Unit Checklist To Prevent Major Issues

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May 1, 2019

Florida oranges and grapefruit love the heat and humidity of the Sunshine State. Even you might enjoy a day at Cocoa Beach, catching a few rays and waves. But it’s always a relief to get back inside to your cool, comfortable air-conditioned home.

To keep your AC unit working at its most energy efficient temperature, you just need to make a few maintenance checks. They’ll save you money and give you relief from your sunny activities in Orange County.

Are you ready to get started on your AC unit maintenance?

Read more for an AC unit checklist that will extend the life of your air conditioning unit and prevent major issues later.

How Your AC Unit Works

Before performing the maintenance on your air conditioning system, it helps to understand the basics of how your AC works.

Most AC units have two parts. One is the outside unit that’s located near your house. This is the compressor/condenser.

The other part of your system is the indoor evaporator. This is near your furnace in a central duct. Some units have a heat pump instead but the maintenance steps are the same for either one.

These AC units work together to circulate cold air through the ducts or registers in your home. The circulated air get warm as it travels through your house, then it goes back into the AC unit to cool off again. This also helps dehumidify your home.

AC Unit Checklist for Better Efficiency

Whether you’re living in your own home, or you’re in charge of maintenance at commercial properties, following these tune-up tips will help keep your AC or HVAC unit running smoothly.

Turn off the power to your indoor and outdoor AC units before beginning any of these steps. Shut off the power to your indoor AC in your home’s breaker box.

The outside unit has a shut-off box located near the exterior AC compressor.

Vacuum out Debris

Starting with the outside unit, use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean the debris from the fins of the unit. Be careful when removing leaves and twigs because the fins are fragile. You can bend or crush them if you’re too rough.

Some AC units have a metal box covering the fins. In that case, just remove the screws. The box should lift off without a problem. Your owner’s manual should give directions on how to remove the cover.

Hose Down the Unit

Using a slow, steady stream of water from your garden hose, spray all the fins of your unit. Move from the inside out to wash away the built-up pollen and dirt.

Don’t use a pressure washer because it can damage the fins. You can find AC fin cleaning spray at home improvement stores if the dirt isn’t coming off the fins.

Check all the fins when you’re done cleaning them. Use a flat putty knife or butter knife to straighten any that are bent. The air won’t flow correctly if any are damaged, which reduces your AC efficiency.

Level the AC Unit Pad

Take a level and make sure the concrete air conditioner pad hasn’t settled over the past year. This can put a strain on the coolant tubes and any electrical wires.

The pad also makes sure that water doesn’t puddle under your AC unit. As long as your unit stays dry, it’s okay if the pad sinks a little.

If you notice the pad sinking too much, you can try pushing a plank under it. Gently prop it up and pack sand under it. Do the same thing for the other side. Try to make it as level as you can.

This can be risky because your concrete pad could crack. If that happens, call an AC technician to disconnect the unit and replace the pad.

Consider replacing the concrete pad with a plastic one to prevent major issues in the future.

Trim Back Plants

Rake around your unit, removing any leaves, sticks and other debris. Also, trim any branches and plants growing around the AC. You want a 2-foot clearance all around the unit for unrestricted air flow.

Evaporator Coil Cleaning

Go back inside your home and locate the evaporator coil door on the blower/ furnace unit. You might have to take out a few screws or remove duct tape to open the door.

Use a soft brush to clean off the evaporator coil. After dusting, spray a no-rinse coil cleaner on the coil. There’s no need to wipe off the foam. It will drip into the pan below.

Take out the drain pan and wash it out with water mixed with bleach. This will kill any mold or mildew from the bottom of the pan. Also, pour one cup of a water and bleach mixture down the drain to clear out any algae and mold.

Replace the coil door and foil duct tape.

Replace the Blower Filter

You should change the blower filter every six months. If you live in an area that has a lot of pollen and dust, you should change it more often.

Choose a blower filter that has the same airflow rating as the old one. When you look at replacement filters, you’ll see some that are HEPA air purifying. These restrict the airflow and can cause your evaporator coil to freeze.

Find the filter on the furnace air conditioner. It’s located where the large air return duct goes into the unit. Take out the used filter and match the direction arrows on the filter to the arrows you see in the AC.

Turn on the Power

After finishing all the maintenance steps, turn your power back on. Your AC unit should be ready energy efficient and ready to keep you cool.

Professional AC Maintenance

It’s a good idea to have an HVAC company inspect your AC system for routine maintenance that you don’t have the skill or equipment to do, regardless of if you have an AC unit checklist or not.

They’ll inspect the wiring, thermostats, refrigerant levels and clean the ducts. This will prevent major issues like refrigerant leaks and compressor failure.

Contact us for AC unit maintenance and repairs. Our licensed, professional AC technicians will keep your AC in tip-top shape for staying cool in Orange County, Florida heat.