3 Parts Of An AC That You're Overlooking In Maintenance
Central air conditioners are complex systems with a lot of moving parts, which in turn require a lot of different maintenance to ensure the unit is working to its best ability. There are common air conditioner maintenance tasks that most homeowner's know about including changing or cleaning the filter, removing debris from the condensing unit case, and perhaps even cleaning both the condenser and evaporator coils. But there are a few areas of the system that are frequently overlooked.
Here are a few of the often forgotten air conditioner parts that might require some maintenance from you or an air conditioning service technician to ensure your unit is working at max efficiency.
Air Handler Drainage
The evaporator coils in your air handler produce condensation as the coils chemically transform refrigerant and become cold. The condensation falls down into a drip pan at the bottom of the air handler. Water leaves the unit through a drain but gets there either through gravity or, more commonly, the presence of a condensing pump.
You want to check the system's drainage periodically to ensure that the water is draining out properly. You can also clean out the drain pan with an antibacterial soap to ensure that mold or mildew don't grow inside your air handler.
If the water seems to start draining slower, check if the coils look frozen over. Frozen coils are often a sign of improper level of refrigerant. If the coils look fine, the failure could be in either a dying condensing pump or a clogged drain. You want to call in an HVAC tech for diagnosis and treatment before you end up with a water leak and potential water damage.
Does your air conditioner system include a dehumidifier that takes excess moisture from the outdoor air? Dehumidifiers are small and often standalone from the air handler, but it is still important to conduct maintenance to ensure the dehumidifier, and then your system as a whole, is operating to full efficiency.
A dehumidifier has an air filter, similar to the one in the main air conditioning unit, that needs to be regularly cleaned or changed. You also need to empty out and disinfect the water collection pan at the bottom of the dehumidifier, which is what catches that moisture taken from the air. Clean the outside of the unit regularly with a dampened cloth to prevent dirt or debris from sticking to the surface and threatening to get inside the machine.
The coils inside the unit also need to be cleaned yearly with a chemical cleaner, which is available at most hardware stores. Or you can simply have an HVAC tech come in once a year to service your whole system, including the dehumidifier.