10 Air Conditioner Maintenance Guide for Homeowners on Maui
Maintaining your air conditioner keeps it in good condition, thus reducing the possibility of failure. I’ve seen thousands of air conditioners over the years as an HVAC contractor, and I can tell you that most of the problems arise from lack of maintenance. Most breakdowns happen ironically in summer when people need cooling the most.
If you don’t want an unexpected air conditioner trouble, follow these Maui air conditioner maintenance tips:
1. Turn off your AC.
One of the first things I will tell you when you tell us you’re having problems with your air conditioning is to turn your unit off. Before you do maintenance tasks, don’t forget to disconnect your unit from its power supply. Otherwise, you could get electrocuted if you attempt to dismantle your air conditioner and touch its internal parts.
Don’t just switch it off. Shut the entire system off and switch off the breaker to make sure no electricity of any amount is coursing through the system.
2. Remove blockages.
Plants and objects near your condenser outdoors may obstruct airflow, especially when they are too close to your outdoor unit. When your condenser is choked, it’s unable to pull sufficient air into the unit to remove enough heat from the refrigerant to turn it into liquid.
Remember that an air conditioner’s ability to cool your home depends largely on its refrigerant. Remove potted plants and objects and trim shrubs and weeds around your condensing unit.
3. Keep your outdoor unit clean.
The condensing unit outdoors is exposed to dust, dirt, dry leaves, and other things. When its fan is running, which is basically every time you turn your air conditioning on, it sucks in dirt and debris, which eventually build up. Dirt and debris hamper heat transfer. As a result, the system loses efficiency. Fortunately, even an average person can clean the condenser using a garden nozzle or a vacuum. Turn off the power. Unscrew the grill. Then remove the fan cage. Remove any dead leaves stuck inside.
4. Clean the coil fins.
Dirt can build up on the fins as air moves into the unit, but that gunk can be removed using a garden hose. Be careful, however, when blasting water onto the unit that you don’t push the dirt into the internal parts of the condenser. Depending on the design of your outdoor unit, you may need to blast water from above, not from the side, to hit the fins from an angle. Sometimes you may need a fin cleaning spray for stubborn dirt.
While cleaning your condenser, you may notice bent fins. Straighten them using a knife, but be careful not to poke any internal structure.
Window units are more difficult to clean because they need to be dismantled and their thermostats and fan motors need to be taken out before you can clean them. There are a lot of parts to deal with, which makes the task quite cumbersome for the average guy.
Well, if in any case, you don’t know how to clean your unit, don’t hesitate to call our Maui air conditioner maintenance technicians.
5. Check that the outdoor unit sits on an even surface.
It’s common for installers to locate the condenser on the ground, not on a leveled concrete, and that means you may find it sitting on a craggy surface. Even concrete can become uneven over the years because of the changes in the soil underneath. Adjust the position of the condenser to make sure it’s sitting perfectly upright.
6. Keep the evaporator coil clean.
Now, your indoor unit, which houses the evaporator coil (and furnace in the case of an HVAC system), needs just as much love as its outdoor counterpart. Basically, your air conditioning system as a whole needs seasonal upkeep.
Again, turn off the power supply to your AC before opening the indoor unit. Dust the coil before spraying a no-rinse cleaner for cooling coils. You may need to take the indoor unit outdoors for better cleaning using a garden nozzle. Care should be taken so that you don’t damage any delicate part and inadvertently cause leaks.
You can always call for professional Maui air conditioning maintenance if you reckon that cleaning the evaporator coil or condenser is a difficult task.
7. Replace the AC filter.
Most homeowners can clean their air conditioner filter, which can be taken out of the unit fairly easily. This should be done as regularly as needed, depending on the how soon it gets dirty. The more members and pets you have at home, the more frequent you need to clean and replace your filters.
Dirty filters cause your air conditioner to work harder, and we always say that a system that works harder than it should lose efficiency. An inefficient appliance requires more electricity to do the same task. More electricity used raises your energy bill.
An average house needs AC filter replacement every six months. A busy house with pets, on the other hand, needs air filter replacement more often. Buy a new filter whose airflow rating is similar to the one your AC originally has.
8. Install a programmable thermostat.
Before the hottest months arrive, inspect your cooling system to make sure every part is in good shape. The thermostat is not an exception to your routine AC inspection. See if it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing when you set it to cooling mode.
More importantly, consider replacing an old thermostat with a programmable model. Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule cooling cycles so that your air conditioner will only cool your house substantially when you and your family are around. This way, you won’t waste so much electricity.
9. Monitor your air conditioning system.
After doing air conditioning maintenance, monitor your unit to make sure it’s working fine. See if it cools your home as effectively as before. If your DIY maintenance is successful, your AC should be able to cool your home to the temperature you set your thermostat to and you shouldn’t be hearing any weird noise.
10. Call an AC technician on Maui.
While some people are confident that they can perform the maintenance tasks enumerated above, others are anxious to even take the filters out of their air conditioners. No problem. That’s one of the reasons we are here. Pacific Air Conditioning addresses common consumer issues, including basic air conditioning maintenance on Maui. It’s our job to give you peace of mind.
We’re here to provide quality and reliable HVAC maintenance and repair services. I teach clients how to clean their filters and program their thermostats properly, but there are procedures that are hard to teach.
Air conditioners come in a variety of designs. That’s why I recommend that you call a professional when you’re not sure what to do. I’ve seen bad DIY work that led to expensive repairs. Better safe than sorry.
If you need a licensed AC technician, call 808-244-0161. We are more than glad to attend to you.