Preparing Your Air Conditioner for the Cooling Season Part 2
General Cleaning and Maintenance of the Evaporator Coil:
Depending upon your air conditioner, the evaporator coil may or may not be accessible for routine cleaning. Before performing any work on the coil, make sure to cut the power to the unit.
- The easiest way to keep the evaporator working efficiently is to keep routinely replace or clean the filter and gently vacuum the fins from the side of the blower.
- Some models have oil ports on the blower. If these are accessible, lubricate the ports by adding a few drops of electric motor oil.
- If the condensation tubes are flexible plastic, they can be pulled off and cleaned.
One of the easiest ways to keep your air conditioning unit working at its peak efficiency is to regularly change the air filters. If you have a reusable filter, it simply needs to be removed and washed with water. If you have a disposable filter, you will need to purchase a new one on a regular basis.
- Locate the filter on your unit. It should be covered by a slotted metal door. Check your unit’s manual if you are unsure of the exact location. The door may have screws holding the filter in place. You will need to remove the door in order to change the filter.
- You will need to know the size of your filter. The size should be located along the top or side of the filter. If no filter is present, you can either measure the filter area or it will be stated in the owner’s manual.
- Choose a suitable replacement filter. There are a number of types to choose from, including conventional, pleated, HEPA and electrostatic filters. Conventional filters are made of fiberglass and are the most inexpensive. Pleated filters are the most common types of filters used in the home and remove up to 40 percent of impurities from indoor air. HEPA filters work best for households that have family members who are highly allergic to pet dander and pollen. Electostatic filters are reusable and remove up to 90 percent of impurities from the air.
- Switch the old filter with the new filter. As you remove the old filter, look for the arrows on the side of the filter. This indicates the air flow direction. When you replace the new filter, you want to make sure that the arrows are facing the same way. The new filter should fit snugly into your unit.
- Replace the slotted metal door.
How often the filter needs to be changed depends upon the type of filter that you purchased and several factors within your home. Some filters are only good for one month, while others recommend that they be changed every three months. However, if there are pets or a family member smokes indoors, the filter may become clogged before its recommended change date.