The temptation to care for the HVAC system themselves is high amongst many homeowners. This is a good thing, but critical is to know where to draw the line. There are some air conditioner maintenance activities that are best left to the professionals. These activities require technical know-how, specialized skill, and equipment, the absence of which can put your safety and the well-being of the air conditioner at risk.
If you want to be actively involved in taking care of the AC, this article will help you set boundaries. We shall discuss the air conditioner maintenance tasks you should and shouldn’t do yourself. This knowledge will prevent you from making expensive mistakes.
Air Conditioner Maintenance Tasks You Should Do Yourself
A homeowner can do a few things regularly to keep their AC working smoothly. These include:
1. Cleaning The Indoor Unit – Cleaning the indoor space should not include only the dusting and wiping of your floors, furnishings, and other apparent belongings. It should also include cleaning air handlers, vents, and registers. By cleaning, we mean their superficial cleaning, which is best done by a rag and, if necessary, a soft brush. At no time should you open these up to clean them from inside. That is a job for professionals only.
2. Cleaning The Condensate Drain Line – Cleaning the condensate line is an easy task. Nevertheless, you should do it only if you feel comfortable and confident. To clean the condensate drain line, switch off the AC and disconnect it from the power source. Now disconnect the condensate line by pulling it out. You don’t have to use much force to do that. Now, pour down a few mugs full of water in the disconnected pipe. This will prevent any blockages in the drain line. Now, push back the pipe into the slot without being, too, forceful.
3. Changing Dirty Air Filters – Annual maintenance of the AC happens just once a year, while the air filters require changing or cleaning every month. Ideally, the homeowners should take the onus to swap out the dirty air filters with clean ones. The process is very simple as these filters are mostly clip-on or slide-through types. The only care one needs to exercise is that they buy the new air filter of the same specification as the old one. Do not try experimenting with the different types, as it can play havoc on the air conditioner’s efficiency.
4. Cleaning The Outdoor Unit – The outdoor unit is much more susceptible to collecting dust and debris mainly because it is at the mercy of nature. Cleaning the outer structure of the unit will go a long way in ensuring that fewer particles enter it and deposit over the internal components. An activity as small as cleaning can keep the outdoor condenser unit working without any stress or strain. This activity should be done monthly instead of annually for best results.
5. Removing Obstructions Around Outdoor Unit – Often, accumulations in the form of dead leaves, twigs, paper, etc., heap around the outdoor unit. In some cases, the bushes and tree branches grow around it and become a hindrance to airflow or threaten the unit’s safety. Both cases can do much harm to the condenser unit. Therefore, homeowners should periodically clean the immediate area around it.
Air Conditioner Maintenance Tasks You Shouldn’t Do Yourself
When it comes to AC maintenance things that you should never attempt on your own, keep the basic rule in mind, do not ever, under any circumstances, open the HVAC system. If the task you plan to do dictates that, do not do it. Opening the AC is a professional task and must be left for them. To be more precise, do not do the following things:
1. Cleaning The Evaporator And Condenser Coils – The DIY tutorials on YouTube make cleaning evaporator, and condenser coils look easy. Nevertheless, it looks simple because professional HVAC technicians have made the videos. Moreover, the coils are a vital part of the system. If you damage them, your system is screwed. No temptation is worth that risk.
2. Maintenance Of Air Ducts – Air ducts require gentle handling, the exact definition of which a homeowner may not know. Also, the standard household equipment is not enough to check it thoroughly. Consequently, only a professional technician should be the one to handle the maintenance of the ductwork.
3. Checking Refrigerant Level – Checking the refrigerant level is an essential part of AC maintenance. Sadly, a homeowner cannot do this job because it means handling dangerous chemicals. Also, if you land up damaging the refrigerant line in your ignorance, that will land you in a bigger soup. An HVAC technician is trained for these kinds of checks and carries the right equipment to complete the job without endangering themselves or others.
4. Testing AC Performance – Testing the performance of the AC is about measuring the air intake and output of the system. This task requires technical knowledge as well as appropriate equipment, both of which the homeowner may lack. Only a trained technician can measure the actual performance of the AC. Additionally, if things are lacking, they know how to tweak the AC components to bring the complete system up to par.
5. Checking The Thermostat – The thermostat is the communicating device between you and the AC. The max you can do to it is to switch out drained batteries. Other than that, refrain from checking its calibration and even internal wiring. These more intrusive tasks are for the AC technician only.
The general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to AC maintenance is
1. Homeowners should only do superficial jobs.
2. Any job that requires opening up the AC is for the trained technician.
Now that summers are just around the corner, residents of West Palm Beach can start booking AC maintenance services with Aztil Air Conditioning. We are a strong and capable team of 100+ trained and certified professionals who are dedicated to giving you world-class service at affordable rates. To engage us, call anytime at +1-888-729-8452. We are always open and would love to take care of your AC.