Professional spring maintenance is vital to extend the life of your air conditioner and maximize its efficiency. However, once-a-year service may not be enough. Regular maintenance at home can also extend the longevity of your system and protect it from expensive repairs. Read on for seven ways to maintain your air conditioner at home throughout the year.

1. Clean Debris From Around Your Unit.

Air conditioners can’t function efficiently if they are clogged with debris or don’t have enough airflow. Check the condenser fins and remove any dead leaves or other debris. Our team at Aztec Mechanical knows the best practices and most efficient way to get this done so it doesn’t damage the fins or any other part of your system. You should also keep the area around your A/C unit free from plant growth or other objects. There should be at least a two-foot radius around the system for it to run properly. 

2. Clean Your Air Conditioner Coils

Your air conditioner has both exterior and interior coils. The condenser coil is located outdoors, while the evaporator coil is located indoors. Outside, your condenser coil is subject to environmental elements. Residue and debris can drastically affect the air conditioner’s efficiency and impact the system’s longevity. They can cause heat to become trapped inside the unit, leading to inefficient cooling and greater energy consumption. (Read: Higher energy bills!) In New Mexico, dust and cotton tends to accumulate on condenser coils, as does pollen and even seeds from cottonwood trees. Use a brush to clean off larger debris. It’s possible to damage the air conditioner coils when cleaning, so if you prefer to have an expert on the job, Aztec Mechanical is glad to step in. Before and after of air conditioner coils

3. Clean the Condenser Fan

The exterior condenser fan is another area where rubbish can accumulate over time. Debris such as leaves or trash can keep the fan from operating efficiently and, overtime, may lead to the unit overheating and burning out the motor (a costly repair).

4. Clean the Fins, Inside and Out

Air flows through the fins around your condenser unit. Make sure this path is clear by spraying the fins with water from a garden hose inside and out. Take care that you don’t spray water on the fan motor, which doesn’t have sealed bearings. If any fins are bent, reshape and straighten them to ensure proper air flow.

5. Clean the Evaporator Coil

The interior evaporator coil is the second part of your A/C unit. It’s usually located inside the blower/furnace unit. Even inside, particularly in New Mexico, dust or sand can accumulate here, too. If you think your coil needs more than a gentle dusting, it’s time to call in the experts. Aztec Mechanical regularly services—and cleans evaporator coils. Before and after of an air conditioner's evaporator coil

6. Clean the Evaporator Drain

Evaporator drains can become clogged over time due to a buildup of algae or mold. These clogs can create a bad odor to come from the unit; however, the problem can become even bigger than an unappealing smell. Clogged drains can cause flooding and, in cases where there’s a drain float, for the system to stop working entirely until it’s drained of water and repaired. You might find the drainpipe inside, it will look for an inch-wide PVC pipe that drains into a sink or utility drain, or outside near the condenser unit. Aztec Mechanical’s team of experts can assist with helping you clean and maintain your evaporator drain to prevent clogs and the smell from getting to this level of urgency.

7. Change (or clean) the Blower Filter

Your A/C unit can’t function efficiently with clogged filters. In most places, HVAC system blower filters need to be changed out at least twice a year. At a minimum, you should clean the filters before you begin needing your heater in the fall and before you begin using your air conditioner in the spring. However, in New Mexico, our dusty environment may mean you need to change or clean filters more frequently. These seven steps should have your HVAC and A/C unit working more efficiently and effectively to control the temperature, which is particularly important as we move into summer. Over the long run, these easy steps will also help extend the lifespan of your system. If you’re unsure how to go about this or would like a professional to step in, we’re here to help. Contact us today to get started.