The temperature in Singapore always remains high, and the humidity never allows you to feel comfortable that you can’t even sleep without an air-conditioner.
Maintenance and repair for your home air conditioning system can be daunting. However, with a bit of knowledge, regular AC maintenance could help you save more energy and avoid costly and untimely repairs down the road.
Like any other home appliance, it needs regular cleaning and maintenance for high long-term use. It’s normal for any appliances like air-conditioners to experience some mechanical problems from everyday use. Still, a little upkeep can go a long way and helps operate at the highest efficiency.
We’ll give you a checklist and simple steps that do not require an aircon technician to do while equipping yourself with this simple technical knowledge that will save you time and money in the long run.
Inside this article: you will learn about the following:
- How to Clean the AC Filters
- How to Clean the Condenser Coils
- Clean the evaporator drain
- Check if your AC unit needs Freon
- Schedule an annual tune-up with a professional
PRECAUTION: Working around electricity and moving parts is very dangerous. You need to completely turn off the power to the condenser at the service panel inside your house before you attempt any maintenance on your air-conditioner AC system.
1. Clean the AC Filters
Over time, debris like dirt, leaves, or even cottonwood trees will build upon the interior and exterior part of your air-conditioner, causing the unit to decrease the system capacity and reduce airflow. Dirty air conditioners can lead to the growth of bacteria and microorganisms that can cause allergies and asthma affecting your entire family.
You should also cut any shrubs or other plants back from around the air conditioner to prevent impeding airflow to and from the unit.
PROTIP: You should wear a disposable face mask when cleaning your AC filters to prevent you from breathing harmful dust particles that may carry bacteria.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Identify if you can clean your filter. Some AC has different filters to be cleaned or meant to be disposed of after a given amount of time.
PROTIP: If you have a replaceable filter, replace it at least every three months.
- Access the filter. You should be able to locate your AC filters by looking along the return duct’s length. Some filters might be on top, below, or the side of the air handler. You might need to unscrew some screws to access the air filter.
Can’t find your AC filter? Give us a call, and we’ll help you find where the air filter is on your air handler.
- Make it clean. To eliminate any accumulated dirt and grime, you can use a vacuum cleaner or use your bathtub faucet to run warm water through the filter in the opposite airflow direction. Be thorough as much as possible to effectively clean the filter, but be careful as you don’t want to tear up or damage it.
2. Clean the condenser coil
Most condensers are located outside your house and have a fan to move air, causing the condenser to collect dirt and airborne dust over the months and years of regular use making it clogged.
Here’s what you need to do:
- The first step you need to do to keep your condenser clean is to cut away any vines, weeds, or any foliage nearby blocking the airflow. Cleaning the area around the coil at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allows for adequate airflow around the condenser.
- Then start cleaning the coil. You can spray the coil with water using your garden hose, not a power washer, as too much force could bend the fins inside the air conditioner.
PRECAUTION: Avoid spraying the fan if it’s still in place or it’s wiring directly with the hose.
- Apply a foaming coil cleaner while they’re still wet from the hose and soak the coils for around 5 to 10 minutes, and let the foam cover entirely the whole coil, then rinse it.
PROTIP: If there’s no available commercial coil cleaning solution nearby, you can use a mixture of mild dish detergent and water.
- Reassemble the unit. Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed the coil, return the fan and covers to where they belong and insert back the screws.
3. Clean the evaporator drain
Evaporator coils are one of the most important components in your air-conditioner that helps air-coolers allow the refrigerant to do your home’s cooling.
When warm, humid air is blown through the evaporator coil, your AC’s efficiency can drop, and damage can occur. Over time, mould and algae could build up and potentially plug the drain causing the system to stop cooling and even cause ice.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Locate and inspect your evaporator coil. These are usually located at the supply side of the system. It could be found on the top, side, or bottom; it depends on how your furnace was installed. Once located, you should be able to tell if it needs to be clean or not.
- Brush the coil. But before cleaning the evaporator coil, make sure to put down some cardboard or pan underneath the coil to catch any debris. Then use a bristle brush. Rinsed in a bucket of clean water to ensure no residual chemicals are being added to the coils.
- Spray the coil with a cleaner. Spray it all over the coil and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Make sure that the cleaning solution runs down to the drain pan. Then rinse the coil and repeat the process if necessary.
- Reassemble anything. Don’t forget to secure in its place and screw back everything.
4. Check if your AC unit needs Freon
If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, chances are you might have a leak that is allowing the Freon to escape.
In case you do have a leak in your air-conditioner, you’re going to have to seal it, replace your Freon, and then replenish your system refrigerant. Knowing how to check the Freon of your air-conditioner could help make your home comfortably cool.
PRECAUTION: While some AC maintenance tasks are suitable to do yourself at home, others need a professional aircon technician to prevent damage to your system.
Now, here’s the run-through of the task you can safely take on yourself:
- Check the fan. Checking the fan is something that you can do yourself at home. Make sure to switch the AC unit then observe it closely. If the fan doesn’t move automatically, chances are the motor could be at fault.
- Frost. The leaking of coolant could cause a malfunction in your AC unit, but it is easy to detect a leak since frost will start to accumulate on some system parts of the AC like motor and tubes.
- Do a soap test. This could be the cheapest way to detect any leak in your AC system. Simply put a soap and water solution to the area where you suspect there may be a leak. If any coolant is escaping, you should see bubbles.
5. Schedule with an AC professional
Getting a trained and experienced technician can detect most problems before they become major ones. Proper air conditioner maintenance can help your unit run at optimal performance and ensure that it would last for as many years as possible.
Air conditioner maintenance and servicing don’t have to be complicated. You can do several ways to help your air-conditioning unit last longer and work better that will serve you for years.
Lastly, maintaining your AC unit is essential for energy efficiency, comfort, overall occupant health, and improves our quality of life.