There aren't many things more frustrating than an air conditioning that refuses to run. A hot, muggy home can make your space incredibly uncomfortable, which is why I have always focused on maintaining my air conditioning system. Unfortunately, I still run into problems from time to time and I am sure that all of you do, which is one of the reasons I decided to build this website. Check out these posts for more information about keeping your system working beautifully, even if you aren't naturally good at fixing things. You never know, making the right changes could dramatically improve your summertime experience.
It's important to have your air conditioner serviced by a professional every year so worn parts can be replaced and so the unit can be cleaned. A dirty air conditioner can't operate efficiently, and dirt on the coils may even cause the AC to ice over. If the environment around your home is dusty or if you have a lot of trees near the AC, then you may need to clean it more often than once a year. Keeping the fins clean and straight is an ongoing job that's part of routine AC maintenance you can do yourself. Here's how.
Clean The Fins On The Outdoor Unit
When your AC has its annual inspection, the HVAC technician checks the fins and cleans and straightens them if needed. However, over the course of the summer, the fins may become clogged with grass clippings or other debris and reduce airflow into the system. Cleaning the fins is fairly simple, just be sure to turn off the power to the unit before you do any type of work on it. To clean the fins, you can use a garden hose to rinse them off or a vacuum wand with the brush attachment to pull out debris and dirt. Just be careful not to press against the fins or you might bend them.
Straighten Bent Fins
The fins are the thin metal strips on the outside of the AC cage where air is drawn into the system. They can bend easily when bumped, and when this happens, air flow is restricted and problems can arise in the AC. Check the condition of the fins occasionally, and if you see bent ones, straighten them out. You can do this with a bread knife by slightly inserting the tip of the knife between the fins and pressing them back in shape. The job is easier if you buy a fin comb from the hardware store that's made for this purpose.
Protect The Cage And Fins
Since the fins are easy to clog and bend, take steps to protect them if you can. One thing you might do is build a small fence enclosure around the AC to keep kids, pets, and flying lawnmower debris away from it. Just be sure the enclosure doesn't block airflow around the unit. If you don't want to build an enclosure, then consider clearing the area of plants so leaves and tree debris won't fall on the AC. You can also put a border of gravel around the unit so you don't have to get close to it when you mow.
By maintaining the fins on your AC, you can eliminate one source of potential problems that could lead to an air conditioning breakdown in the summer. However, fin maintenance is just one step of many in caring for an air conditioner so it works efficiently and has a long life. Contact air conditioning maintenance services to learn ore.