The middle of summer is not a good time for your air conditioner to stop working or work less efficiently, as the hottest days of the year are usually just around the corner. After your home's air conditioner has been running strong for several weeks or months, it may need a little work or cleaning. Here are some tips you can complete on your own to help the efficiency and cooling ability of your air conditioner.
Check the Filter
As your air conditioner pulls heat from and filters the air within your home, it can collect dirt, dust, and other particles in the air. The filter's job is to remove particles from your home's air and to keep them from cycling through your unit and causing build-up on the unit's coils. As this dust builds up on its filter, the air flow through your unit slows, which results in less cool air being blown into your home and your AC unit having to work harder.
Although changing your air conditioner's filter is an easy task, it is one that can easily become overlooked. For this reason, it is recommended to check your filter regularly on your air conditioner and replace it when it shows a build-up of dust. It may be helpful to add an automatic reminder onto your cell phone to help you remember to check it.
Depending on your home and if you have indoor pets, you may need to check and replace or clean your filter more often. It can be helpful to check it once a month to determine how quickly it collects dirt. If your air conditioner's air filter is washable, rinse out the filter to remove all dirt and particles, then place it back into the unit.
Straighten the Fins
Your air conditioner's outside compressor is covered with rows of metal fins, which help expel heat from the coolant in your unit as it cools your home. Over time, these fins can become bent from external forces or flying objects, such as hail and rocks thrown from a lawn mower to cause the fins to not expel heat as efficiently as they should. This can put additional strain on your air conditioner and cause it to work harder and use more power.
Periodically inspect the outside of your air conditioner's compressor to look for any bent fins. You can straighten the fins whenever you notice they have become damaged, and you only need to get a fin straightener tool, which you can buy from most home improvement stores.
Fin combs come in several different sizes, depending on the spacing of the fins on your unit. Place the appropriately-sized fin comb into the fins at the bottom of your compressor and run the comb upward through the bent area of fins to straighten them. Continue this process over any other areas of damage.
Use these two tips to keep your air conditioner working as efficiently as possible.
For more information on AC unit maintenance, contact a professional service such as Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.