Summer is coming, so make sure your air conditioning unit is ready. Here are some AC cleaning and preparation tips:
Change/clean the filter. Buy a good-quality, air filter for your AC unit. Your AC unit is like a big vacuum -drawing in hot air and sending out cooled air. If the filter is clogged it will not only have to work harder to do this, it will also send out less cooled air.
Usually the filter is located in or behind the front grill of the unit. The filter may come right out of the top of the grill or you may have to remove the front grill to access the filter. If the filter can be removed from the top of the grill it may be washable. If it is a spongy type of material behind the grill it is probably a disposable filter and should be replaced.
It is recommended that you clean or replace the filter on your air conditioner unit twice a month during cooling season.
Have your duct worked cleaned and checked for leaks by a professional. Leaks will cost you more money in your utility bills.
Clean the drain on your AC unit (for outside units). Excellent video on this site on how to do this: http://www.dannylipford.com/home-improvement-video/ac-drain-clean-out/
Clean the coils and grill. Dirty, mold and mildew can build up on your AC unit’s coils, which can reduce the capacity of you AC by 30 – 50%. It can also cause the compressor on your unit to fail, which will be very costly to replace.
Clean your grill and inspect it again in a few weeks. If your grill becomes dirty again, it could indicate you have dirt in your ducts and that they need to be cleaned.
Buyers beware. If you have an older AC unit, there is another thing to consider, your AC unit might be running on an older type of coolant called R-22 (check the label on the inside of your air conditioner.) Beginning in January 2010, certain types of equipment that produce R-22 will be eliminated, making the coolant harder to find and much more expensive to buy.
If you are thinking about replacing your old AC unit, make sure you buy a unit that does not use R-22 as a coolant. Since businesses can still sell AC units running on R-22, be cautious when shopping for a new unit and make sure you buy one running on ozone-friendly refrigerant. It might be more expensive initially, but these units will prove cheaper to run, service, and maintain.
Call a professional now for the best deals. If you are not comfortable with maintaining or cleaning your own unit, call a professional now before the hot weather hits. Heating and cooling businesses tend to offer the best deals on AC maintenance checks in the spring, so shop around.