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Air Conditioner Maintenance

There's nothing like opening your front door on a hot and humid day to be hit with a cool blast of air conditioning.  However, failure to properly maintain your air conditioner, especially during the summer or other high-usage times, could leave you suffering in the heat.

Some people may not be aware that the filters, coils, and fins of an air conditioner need regular cleaning or replacing to keep the unit performing properly, maintain the air quality of the home, and ensure energy efficiency.

A dirty, clogged filter restricts airflow, which in turn can drive dirt into the evaporator coil, limiting its capacity to absorb heat. Some air filters are reusable, while others must be replaced.  There are several factors to consider when deciding how often to service the filters, including the number of people in the residence, the number of pets in the home, and whether anyone in the home suffers from allergies.

Allergy Asthma Technology offers AllerTechFurnace and Air Conditioner Filters, which were developed especially for people with allergies and asthma. The filters have a special no-leak seal, and their unique design means they only need to be replaced once every three months.

In central air conditioners, the filters are usually found in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or the unit itself.  Filters in room air conditioners are found mounted in the grill.

While a clean filter can help keep the evaporator and condenser coils clean, over time they will collect dirt, again restricting airflow and limiting their ability to absorb heat.  The evaporator coil should be checked and cleaned on an annual basis.

It is easy to see the condenser coils on outdoor units.  Check them frequently, especially if the unit is exposed to dirt and debris.  It is a good idea to keep the area around the unit clear of foliage and debris to maximize airflow.  Maintain the aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils with a fin comb.

Other maintenance tasks include inspecting the seal on window units, making sure condensate drain channels are not clogged, and covering outdoor units when not in use.

While regular maintenance helps keep air conditioners in good working order, there may come a time when the unit needs professional help. A professional technician can check the refrigerant, check and seal duct leaks, check the accuracy of the thermostat, and perform other needed inspections and repairs.

It is possible to get along without air conditioning, but with simple, regular do-it-yourself maintenance, hopefully you will be able to keep cool and comfortable throughout the long, hot summer.   

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