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DIY: Air Conditioning Unit Tune-Up

February 15, 2019

If you notice that your air conditioning unit is not functioning as well as it normally does, there are a few steps you can take yourself before you call a professional service.

Ideally, you should perform these tasks once a year to keep your unit in top shape (usually in the springtime before you need to use the air conditioning unit again).


Change the Filters

The most important (and easiest!) thing you should to to maximize your air conditioning unit’s efficiency is to change out the filters on a regular basis. Dust and other debris builds up on the filter over time, and as a result, the filter does not allow as much air to pass through it. Because of this, the air conditioning unit has to work overtime to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, which can lead to a decreased lifespan for the unit.


Remove Any Debris

The exterior compressor of your air conditioning unit needs to be kept clean to work properly, but because it is subject to the elements, this can be difficult. Leaves, dust, and other debris tends to accumulate in the interior of the unit, so you need to remove the cage on top and use a vacuum to clean it out.


Clean & Straighten the Fins

Remove the outer cover of your air conditioning unit and use a shop vacuum with a brush attachment to clear out the dirt from the unit’s fins. After all of the dirt has been brushed off, you should use a garden hose with a gentle stream (no pressure washer!) to clean the fins even more thoroughly. Finally, to improve airflow to the unit, use a butter knife or professional fin-straightening tool to straighten any bent fins.


Level the Unit

The pad that your outdoor compressor sits on can eventually start to sink into the ground because of the compressor’s weight. This unevenness not only looks strange, but it can also cause the compressor to prematurely fail. So, break out your level to make sure that yours is still on solid ground, and if it is not, be sure to lift the sinking side of the pad and use rot-resistant shims to keep it level.


Use Your Dryer at Nighttime

You may have never associated drying your clothes with air conditioning unit efficiency, but the two are actually closely related. When you dry your clothes in the dryer, it blows quite a bit of air out of your home, which has already been cooled by the air conditioning unit. As a result, more warm air gets drawn into the house and the air conditioning unit has to work much harder to keep the house cool. An easy way to remedy this is to use the dryer at night when the air outside is naturally cooler.

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