Your AC needs good care all season long, but it needs extra attention at least once a year. During the annual maintenance call, your AC is cleaned thoroughly, serviced, and checked for bad parts. You'll need an AC maintenance technician to perform most of the maintenance tasks, but there are several things you can do too. Here's a look at tasks involved with annual AC system maintenance.
Service the Thermostat
You may want to change the batteries in your thermostat at the same time you do the rest of the AC maintenance. This ensures it will have fresh, strong batteries to last all season. You might also want to dust around the thermostat and inside the front cover if it needs it.
The AC maintenance technician might check the thermostat for loose wires and other potential problems. They may also test or calibrate the thermostat to make sure it is functioning properly.
Check the Ducts for Leaks
You or the maintenance technician may want to check around the ducts for leaks. If air is leaking out of the ducts, your AC won't be able to cool down your home very well. Look for rips, gaps, and holes, and seal the air leaks you find. You can also use a smoking stick of incense to look for air leaks. Move the stick around the ducts, and if the smoke suddenly changes directions, there is a leak somewhere that needs to be plugged.
This is also a good time to clean the ends of the ducts near the registers. Use a vacuum attachment or a duster to get rid of dust clinging to the registers and the ends of the ducts, so your AC system is cleaner and has fewer airflow restrictions.
Clean the Condenser
If you enjoy DIY chores, you might want to clean the condenser cage yourself before the AC maintenance technician arrives. Be sure to cut off the power first, and then you can use a hose to spray away dirt and other debris that accumulated over the winter.
Spray from inside the cage to the outside so you don't harm the fins or knock more debris inside the cage. If the cage is full of leaves, you may need to dig them out by hand.
The maintenance technician can finish the job by cleaning the coils, cleaning the fan, and straightening the fins. In addition, they'll check parts, replace worn parts, measure the refrigerant, check the compressor, and make sure wiring is intact and in good shape.
Service the Air Handler
The air handler doesn't get as dirty since it's inside, but it still accumulates dust. Plus, the air handler contains the furnace too, so unlike the condenser, the air handler operates in the winter. The evaporator coils may be coated with dust, and the dust has to be removed with a cleaner so the refrigerant can cool down your house.
The blower is in the air handler too. This needs to be cleaned and checked so it puts out maximum air when it kicks on. Most of the work involved in maintaining the air handler is done by the maintenance technician.
However, there is one important job you have when it comes to AC system maintenance, and that's changing the filter. You may want to change the filter when your AC has its annual maintenance and then every month or so thereafter according to the recommendation of your HVAC manufacturer.
For more information about AC system maintenance, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.