The enemy of your air conditioning system is dirt and debris and almost any homeowner has the ability to perform the tasks to keep their air conditioning system clean. It seems too simple, but it's a fact: lack of maintenance causes decreased efficiency, increased repairs, and takes years off the life of your system; costing homeowners thousands.
First- a simplified explanation of how your system works
The most prevalent system in Oklahoma has 3 main parts, an outdoor air conditioner, an inside coil connected to the air conditioner with copper lines, and a furnace that moves air through the house during both the heating and cooling seasons. Refrigerant runs through the copper lines between the air conditioner and inside coil. Cold refrigerant circulates in the indoor coil, when warm air is blown across the coil it cools down and is blown thorough your ducts, cooling your home. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the warm air blown across the coil and transports it outside to your air conditioner. When the warm refrigerant reaches the air conditioner the heat is expelled and the process starts over. The main thing to understand is that air is key in the absorption and expelling of heat.
The outdoor problem
When the outdoor unit gets dirty the warm air can't be expelled fast enough. It's like having a blanket on, the heat is retained, reducing efficiency and increasing equipment failures. Each home has a different environment and can accumulate dirt and debris at a different rate. Dust, grass clippings, pets, leaves and pests all effect the accumulation on your air conditioner. If you have ever felt the volume of air being blown out of the top of your air conditioner, that same amount of air is being sucked in the sides bringing dust and debris with it. Some passes through, but some sticks and adds to the blanket.
So , the key is to remove the blanket. This can be performed with a standard garden hose. The most important safety concern is making sure power is shut off to the unit. Most homes, up to code, have a shut off box next to the air conditioner. Once you are sure the power is off usually all that needs to be done is to spray down the unit form top to bottom on the outside. If the unit is extremely dirty the top can be removed with a few screws and sprayed from the inside to the outside. Once you have cleaned the unit thoroughly sweep up and ensure all lose debris is removed from around your unit.
The indoor problem
Your indoor unit has a filter for built in protection. It keeps your equipment clean and the air clean that circulates in your house. In order for that protection to work the filter must be checked and replaced regularly. The frequency depends on occupants, pets, age of construction and activities taking place in the home. If a filter becomes clogged airflow is reduced and operation of your system suffers. When a filter becomes clogged dust is also more likely to be sucked from other small openings in your ductwork and around the filter clogging your indoor coil and causing a need for more extensive maintenance.
Changing filters is usually a fairly simple process. First, at your thermostat, turn your system to off. The hardest part, if you haven't done it before, is usually finding the location and getting the correct size of filter. Filters are located either at your furnace or they can be located in your return air grills. Return air grills are the larger of the grills in your home and there can be multiple grills depending on the size of your system. They have latches and hinges to make removal of filters easy. Once you have located your filters simply replace and dispose of the dirty filter. Turn your system back on.
If you don't have time, are not comfortable performing these tasks, or feel your system needs additional maintenance we are happy to help or answer any questions you may have. You can call for our AC Tune Up Special or sign up for our Smart Service plan for routine maintenance. Both of these plans include 1 lb of 410A refrigerant and additional checks and maintenance tasks that will have your air conditioning system running with increased efficiency and reliability this summer. Our Smart Service plan includes extremely discounted maintenance, priority customer status, extended labor warranties on repairs, and 20% discount on repairs.