It always seems to happen at the most inopportune times. You’ve come in from a long workout or a day of doing yard work, eager for that blast of cool air when you open the door to your house. But instead of a nice, cooling chill, you’re greeted with more heat. It’s the AC unit yet again. Now, in addition to continuing to sweat, you’re starting to dread the amount it will cost to fix it. But there are some fixes you can try first. Before you pick up the phone to call the repairman, take these small steps may solve the problem before having to pay someone to fix it. Want even more protection? We recommend getting a home warranty. Find your state here to begin learning more.
Check the Filter
One of the most common AC problems is a clogged air filter. If your air filter gets dirty, that decreases the airflow the unit can pull in to keep the indoor coil from freezing. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not a good thing for the indoor coil to freeze. A frozen coil will decrease airflow through the entire system and not cool your home. In addition, if your filter isn’t clean, the fan motor on the indoor unit will also have to work harder and can eventually fail, leading to an expensive replacement. Filter positions vary by AC model, but most are disposable, and replacements can be found at hardware and even grocery stores. There are also permanent filters, which can be cleaned by simply brushing off the excess dust. Doing this once every few weeks will ensure a clean and cool AC system.
Clean Condenser Coils
Sometimes, it’s the outdoor part of your unit that gets dirty. The condenser coil inside the outdoor unit sucks the heat out of your home and removes it back into the outside air to help keep your home cool. It has to move a lot of air to keep this process going. If the fins on the exterior of the unit get dirty, that air flow is inhibited, and it takes much more effort to remove the hot air. This will raise your power bill and put more strain on your system. A simple clean can help keep the system running smooth. First, make sure to remove plants and other debris from around the unit as these can also block the airflow. Then, take a brush to remove dust. Many newer models can even be cleaned by spraying water across the fins to knock off the debris. Check your unit’s owner manual for suggested cleaning of the outdoor unit.
It is frustrating to step into your home expecting cool and getting heat instead. Doing these simple cleaning steps once every few weeks takes only a few minutes but can add years to the life of your AC system and, better still, keep you and your family cool.