12 Apr Regular Central Air Conditioning Maintenance Can Save You Thousands
If you experience summer in Seattle, you’ll understand why air conditioning is essential in our homes. It starts to get warm by April and the consistent warmth, averaging between the low 50s and upper 70s remain until August, with the overall average during summer hovering in the low- to mid-70s. Seattle hit a record in 2015 with 10 days in the 90s! This was followed by 8 days in the 90s last year in 2016, with August hitting a high of 95 degrees, and averaging 82 degrees.
As a specialist in central air conditioning maintenance, we at Fischer understand the need for properly working central A/C units. A homeowner expects their central heating and air conditioning unit to deliver the right temperature each time they turn their unit on. This is the ideal scenario. But sometimes, things go wrong. The unit may be turned on, but you might notice that your house is not cooling in the same way as before. Or it can be the other way around. The A/C is running, but you notice that its efficiency is down or that its motor is working harder to keep you supplied with cool air.
You see, an air conditioning unit is a motorized appliance, which needs proper and regular maintenance. You cannot expect your appliance to run efficiently all the time, year in year out, without a regular checkup. It’s just like our bodies, it can get sick if you don’t get annual check-ups so you prevent some problems and correct other problems before they become big problems.
Why Do You Need Central Air Conditioning Maintenance?
You bring your car to the shop for regular maintenance, right? It’s the same with central air conditioning. It needs maintenance to keep it performing efficiently and maximizing its longevity. If your air conditioning unit is new, the manufacturer requires that it should have annual maintenance, which is included in their warranties. Further, the manufacturer suggests that it should be done throughout the lifetime of your A/C unit.
Who doesn’t want to stay in a pleasantly cool house in summer? Well, you can be sure that you’ll remain comfortable even if the temperature outside reaches the high 70s if you’ve called Fischer for your central air conditioning maintenance way before the summer season starts.
Aside from that, did you know that when you’re remiss with your A/C maintenance, you could shorten its lifespan by about 10-15 years? That means you’re losing that much in efficient service and you’ll be spending for another unit sooner than expected, meaning $$$$ out of your wallet! Your unit also loses around 5% of its efficiency when it is not regularly maintained. You may hardly notice it initially, but your energy bill will reflect it soon enough. Regular maintenance reduces the risk of your unit requiring major repairs, which will lower the cost of your maintenance bills.
Timing Your Central A/C Maintenance
Once a year maintenance service is enough to keep your A/C in tiptop shape. The best time to perform A/C maintenance is in the spring. Call Fischer and book the service before everyone else does. Our technician will be able to assess and repair any damage that it might have sustained during winter so your unit will be ready before the warmer temperatures arrive. If you want your A/C to have optimum performance, schedule central A/C maintenance twice a year. You can consult an expert Fischer A/C technician for the best maintenance schedule. We want our fellow Seattleites to be cool this summer and thereafter. We’ve been serving homes in Seattle for over 30 years and are familiar with the homes and needs of most residents.
What Are The Signs It is Time for A/C Maintenance?
You might be thinking about what you can do on your own to check if your A/C needs maintenance or repair. This can also help you describe what’s wrong with your unit when you call Fischer for repair or maintenance service. Check if the unit is leaking. Look over the hose connections for cracks or leaks. Take note of strange or persistent sounds when the unit is running.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that the external air compressor is clean. You can spray it with water using your garden hose to remove accumulated dirt. See to it that there’s free flow of air by removing things around the compressor that can block air circulation. We include many other critical A/C components in our A/C Tune-up you can review on our HVAC Maintenance Plan page.
If you are a DIY person…
Manufacturers recommend that a central air conditioning unit should be regularly maintained. It is a condition for the warranty to be honored. If you have the skills and love to do some DIY work, here are some tips on how to maintain your central air conditioner that can help you save.
Turn off the power
Your central air conditioning system runs on electricity and has moving parts thus it is vital that the power is completely turned off before you start your maintenance work. Turn off the power from the breaker box indoors and shut off the power on the exterior compressor/condenser.
Get rid of debris
Remove the fasteners of the fan cage on the exterior unit with a wrench or screwdriver so you can lift the fan grill. Remove leaves and other debris from the interior of the outdoor unit.
Clean the outdoor unit’s fins
Remove the outer covers of the unit. Connect a brush attachment to a shop vacuum to remove all the accumulated dirt. With a garden hose, clean the fins from the inside out with a gentle stream of water. Do not use a pressure washer, as the fins can be damaged.
Keep the fins straight
The unit’s efficiency is reduced when the airflow is reduced, which can be caused by bent fins. You can straighten them using a fin-straightening tool. If you do not want to spend on it, you can use a butter knife. Keep in mind that tubing is embedded in the fins so you have to be careful and use only gentle force in straightening them.
Clean the surrounding area
Once you have finished cleaning the outdoor unit, replace the fan grill or fan cage properly. Pay attention to the surrounding area and remove leaves, grass and other debris that have accumulated around the condenser. Trim branches of shrubs and remove unwanted vegetation at least 2 feet around the condenser. This will ensure that air properly flows around it. When the condenser is not in use during winter, put a piece of plastic or plywood on top of the unit to protect it from debris and snow.
Ensure that the unit is level
Check that the outdoor unit is still level. If the unit is not level, the compressor that is contained by the condenser can fail. If you do not have the tools or have no way of checking, call a licensed technician.
Check the evaporator coil
In the indoor unit, locate the door of the evaporator coil and remove it. Using a soft paintbrush, remove the dust that has built up on the coil. Purchase a no-rinse coil cleaner and spray it on the coil. The foam it produces will drip into the pan. Clean the drain pan with hot water, soap and a few drops of bleach. Mix a cup of half-and-half bleach and water and pour this on the drain to remove growth of algae and mold. Put back the door afterwards.
Clean the drain tube as well.
Replace the air filter
It is recommended that the air filter of an HVAC system be replaced at least every six months. If you are located in a dusty area, replacing the air filter will have to be done more frequently. Remember that the replacement filter’s airflow rating must be the same.
Turn the power back on after you have done these DYI maintenance tasks.
Spring is here. Contact Fischer now to book your central air conditioning maintenance service schedule. Give us a call at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050.
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