Installing a central air conditioning system can make your life easier, freeing you from the difficult chore of dragging window units in and out of storage. When properly maintained, a central air conditioning system can last for decades, but the right care is an essential part of the equation.
If your home includes a central air conditioning system, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep it running like new. These maintenance tasks are not difficult, but they are important.
Check and Change the Filters
Checking the furnace filters is one of the most important things you can do to keep your central air system running like new. The filters should be checked every month; checking them on the same day each month will help you remember.
If the filter is clogged or dirty, you can clean it and put it back in place. If the filter still looks dirty after a good cleaning, it should be replaced. Keep a supply of spare filters on hand so you can replace them as needed.
Clean the Drain Line
The drain line should be cleaned at least once or twice a year. Turn off the power to the furnace before checking the drain line, then use a solution of vinegar and water and clean the condensate drain line.
While you are cleaning the drain line, be sure to check the outdoor part of the condenser and inspect the area around the unit. Make sure the condenser is still level; condensers can settle overtime. If it is not level, call an HVAC technician to make the necessary adjustments.
Remove any debris around the condenser and make sure the system is able to draw air in. Make sure the condenser is at least 2 to 3 feet away from shrubs, trees and other landscaping elements. Trim the shrubbery back if the landscape is encroaching on the central air system.
Clean the Exterior
Check the exterior side of the condenser and clean it with a garden hose. Use a gentle spray to remove debris from the system and keep the exterior clean. When winter comes, you might be tempted to cover the condenser, but that would be a mistake. Covering the condenser could trap water inside the system and corrode the metal components.
You can protect the condenser from falling objects and winter hazards by covering the top opening. Just be sure to secure the cover and check it often.