DIY Maintenance and Cleaning
You can do some basic maintenance yourself. Here is what to expect:
- Cost: $50.00 to $100.00
- Time Needed: Less than half a day
- Tools and Materials:
- Screwdriver and a wrench
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Garden hose and sprayer
- Butter knife or fin tool
- Rake and/or pruning shears
- 2′ Level
- Shims if necessary
- Metal Foil tape
- Soft bristle paint brush
- Coil cleaner
- Hot, soapy water
Before You Begin
Turn off the power to the unit. Turn the condenser switch to the “off” position. At your home’s breaker box, turn off the breaker. You don’t want it turning on while you have your hands near the fan blades! Please keep in mind that we strongly recommend you hire a professional to do these tasks and take no responsibility for any DIY projects.
- Clean the condenser. Remove the grate over the fan and vacuum any debris found inside. With a garden hose, spray the fins from the inside out. (Never use a pressure washer. The fins are very thin and can damage easily.) This can be very tricky as the fan on top wires may need to be disconnected to remove far enough to work inside. If your not sure about this, better to hire this part out.
- Inspect the fins. They are very thin and bend easily. If you see damaged spots, like where the fins are flattened, straighten them gently with the butter knife or fin tool. Be careful not to damage the tubing within the fins. These fins can easily bend with strong water pressure so take care when washing.
- Rake any ground-level debris away from the condenser and prune any branches or bushes away at least two feet.
- Level the condenser. As soil settles, it’s not unusual for the condenser pad to get off-level. Using shims and the level, you can bring the condenser back to a level position.
- Be sure that there is not anything above the outside unit. The hot air discharges from the top of the condenser and will recirculate back into itself not allow your AC to work properly.
- Clean the evaporator coils. These should be behind a door above where the blower motor is. It might be sealed with foil tape. Open the cover and use the soft paintbrush to dust off the coil. Next, spray the coil with coil cleaner, letting it drip into the drain pan. Afterward, clean the drain pan with soap and hot water. (Adding a drain pan tablet to the pan can help prevent algae growth and costs about $3.50 for a pack of 6.) Make sure the drain flows freely. If it does, you can skip the next step. Take care when adding any water source not to get it on any wires or motors as this can cause harm to your system.
- Clean the evaporator drain. This is usually a 1-inch PVC pipe coming off the evaporator enclosure. Follow it to where it drains out. Attach the wet/dry vacuum to this end, sealing it with duct tape or with a rag. Remove the vacuum’s filter to avoid damaging it and turn the vacuum on for 2-3 minutes to clear out any blockage.
- Change the filter. This should be done twice a year on heating/cooling systems; once at the start of the cooling season and once at the start of the warming season.
- Turn the power back on and let it go through a full cycle. If it’s not cooling like it used to, it’s time to call a pro. Sometimes when a system is cleaned, the freon level will show up as inefficient and may need an adjustment. This is not a bad thing, it just shows that there may have been multiple issues compounding your system to be less efficient than what it could be.
This whole project should cost around $50.00. Even if all you can do is change the filter, doing it regularly will save about 15% on your cooling bill. But whether you spend $50.00 to $100.00 to do it yourself or if you spend $125.00 to $175.00 to hire a pro, it’s cheaper than paying several thousands of dollars repairing or replacing your AC
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your AC unit will not only save you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, it will keep you from an unexpected break down that will leave you sweating.
Don’t want to do it yourself – call us and get $50.00 off.
When calling for service, use promo code “135” for your discount.