most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency
of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its
filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce
a system's efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed,
air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into
the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity.
Filters are located somewhere along the return duct's length.
Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces,
or in the air conditioner itself.
types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They
are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean
or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters
every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may
need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in
constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have
fur-bearing pets in the house. If you use a disposable type
filter, it's always wise to keep several spares inside the
waste of energy occurs when cooled air escapes from supply
ducts or when hot attic air leaks into return ducts.
studies indicate that 10% to 30% of the conditioned air in
an average central air conditioning system escapes from the
and Insulating Air Ducts
air conditioning to be efficient, ducts must be airtight.
Hiring a competent professional service technician to detect
and correct duct leaks is a good investment, since leaky ducts
may be difficult to find without experience and test equipment.
Ducts must be sealed with duct "mastic." The old
standby of duct tape is ineffective for sealing ducts.
can impair the efficiency of a duct system almost as much
as leaks. You should be careful not to obstruct the flow of
air from supply or return registers with furniture, drapes,
or tightly fitted interior doors. Dirty filters and clogged
evaporator coils can also be major obstructions to air flow.
large temperature difference between attics and ducts makes
heat conduction through ducts almost as big a problem as air
leakage and obstructions. Ducts in attics should be insulated
heavily in addition to being made airtight.
dirt, leaves, grass and other debris clog the condenser coils,
straining the system.
month, inspect the outdoor unit to insure that nothing is
obstructing the airflow across the coil. Remember, before
you do any work on your condenser unit to turn off the power
at the disconnect switch mounted on the wall near the unit.
If you don't have a disconnect switch, turn off the breaker.
If you find that your unit is becoming dirty, you can follow
the procedures below.
disconnecting the power, if leaves or other debris have collected
inside the condensing unit, open the unit by undoing the screws
on the top panel and tipping it up. Remove any debris from
the enclosure. Then, reverse the procedure insuring the screws
are replaced before restoring power. Do not open the electrical
panel cover. This is best left to a certified technician.
Check to be sure your compressor unit is level. An unleveled
unit will be nosier, less efficient, and cause excessive wear.
Check the level in both directions, making adjustments if
necessary. Be careful how much you move the unit. It has rigid
connections to the electrical and refrigerant lines. Too much
(and it doesn't take much) movement could cause a refrigerant
leak to occur.
Finally, check the condensate line for a bacterial slime that
tends to grow in condensed water. The condensate line is the
drain that removes water that has condensed from your indoor
coil. Pour a 1:9 bleach-and-water solution through the line.
Find the fitting for the hose, pull it out, and flush the
line all the way to the floor drain. If the drain is difficult
to reach, you may be wiser to call your HVAC contractor to
do the job.
Always be careful when using lawn mowers and trimmers around
your condensing unit. Flying debris can damage the coil and
fins. Air-Conditions Tips>>>