5 Ways to Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
Even if Canadian weather means there’s always at least a 10% risk of snow, it’s safe to say that our summers are still as hot as ever, and only getting hotter. That said, as you make the most out of these next few months before the winter rears its head again, we at EAMA are here to give you 5 tips to make sure your home’s air conditioner is in tip top shape so you can focus on the most important thing about the summer – going outside.
1. Reinforce Your Window Seals
Close, but not quite what we mean.
For those of you with window units, make sure to check the seal between the unit and window frame at the start of each cooling season. Over time, moisture from the conditioner can wear away at the seal, allowing cold air to escape since you’re essentially running the A/C in a room with the windows open. Leaving the windows open will also force the A/C to work harder, and the stress will gradually erode at the unit’s efficiency and lifespan in the long-term. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
2. Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter
Secondly, it’s important to check that your A/C unit’s filter is nice and clean. The filter is what screens out pollutants, particulates, and dust to ensure the quality of the air that comes out – essentially the “conditioner” in air conditioning. You can usually find this somewhere along the length of the return duct, usually in a wall, ceiling, or on the A/C unit itself. For those in apartment or condos, the A/C filter can usually be found inside the mounted grills. These should be cleaned or replaced at least every month or two during the hotter seasons, as clogged filters reduce airflow and can raise energy consumption by 5-15%. If you are a pet owner, you may need to check the filters more frequently to account for animal hair, which can waft up and get blown around by the unit – there’s nothing worse than trying to figure out how your little buddy managed to shed on top of the fridge when they’ve never been up there.
Don't even get us started on fur in the fridge.
Photo by Lucas Andrade
3. Check Your A/C Coils
AC evaporator and condenser coils are responsible for regulating the humidity of the air during the cooling process. Any readers who have ever had an A/C unit with dirty coils (or have had to use a fan instead) know the pain of having hot, humid air blown at you in the middle of July – it may be the closest one gets to actually being laughed at by Mother Nature. As such, it’s important to check that your coils have not collected dirt over their months or years of service, as this impacts their ability to absorb heat. Outdoor coils in particular can become dirty if the environment is dusty or there is foliage nearby. Be sure to clear away any fallen leaves or debris around the coil and condensers.
Spacing them out also helps.
Photo by Tom Fisk
4. Clear Your Coil Fins
After cleaning around your coils and condensers, make sure you don’t forget to check your fins as well. Fins are important for moving warm air away from the air conditioner while it’s running. This is particularly important on very hot days when the air conditioner is running continuously, where bent fins on evaporator and condenser coils can block airflow, turning your cool breeze into a broth of humid air. You can find fin combs at air conditioner wholesalers to easily ensure your fins are straightened properly, or you can use a dinner knife (careful not insert more than ½ an inch into the fin, EAMA does not condone knife crimes against air conditioners).
No need to go further than a dinner knife either.
5. Check Your Condensate Drains
Have you ever noticed water puddling around the furnace of your air conditioner unit while it’s running? If so, it’s time to clear out the condensate drains (apologies to anyone who had high hopes for an air conditioner/Brita filter hybrid). Clogged drain channels can prevent a unit from properly regulating the humidity of the air, and the excess moisture that results from this can discolour walls or carpet – that’s right, a clogged drain channel can literally melt your home. Luckily, fixing this is as easy as passing a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels, clearing up any dirt or debris that has collected in there.
Photo by ready made from Pexels
Follow these five easy steps and keeping your home cool this summer will be no sweat (sorry) – and if you find any issues that you can’t solve with a dinner knife, wire, or a bit of elbow grease, don’t hesitate to call your friends at EAMA. Our seasoned team of HVAC technicians has the experience and expertise needed to make sure you can beat the heat this summer.