Spring has arrived and the temperatures are warming up. That means that air conditioning season will start very soon as well. Air conditioning is something that often is taken for granted in today’s world, but it plays a large role in a business or organization. Air conditioning provides an oasis from heat for both your employees and customers, and without it, you will lose productivity and money. Employees don’t want to work in a hot building, and consumers don’t want to visit a building that is hot. They will go somewhere else and will be left with a poor impression of your facility.
To prevent any loss of money or productivity, you can do a small amount of maintenance on your air conditioning unit, while also saving time in the long run in terms of repairs. The best time to do maintenance on an air conditioner is before it is actually needed, so right now would be the ideal time to perform any maintenance needed for your unit. Here are a few things to check on your own unit to make sure that it is working best.
Keeping filters clean keeps your system at peak efficiency. Clean filters allow the air to flow out and into your building. You should be replacing your air filters according to the recommendations of the manufacturer of your unit, ideally monthly. An easy method of making sure that you are doing this per the schedule necessary is to use a chart to mark off when you change them. You can also incorporate changing air filters into a part of your monthly routine by changing them on the first of every month or when you perform another monthly chore.
Monthly changes of filters might not always be sufficient for your situation. Depending on your environment, such as if your facility is an area of a large amount of dust or if you are doing any sort of remodeling that would cause more particulates in the air, you may need to replace these more often. When filters are clogged or if air can’t freely flow, you lose efficiency and cause your system to work harder than it should. The lack of efficiency and the strain on your system can cause it to malfunction and potentially break down.
The outdoor portion of your air conditioner can collect leaves and debris throughout the winter months. It’s best to rinse these things off before switching the system on. However, if you need to do this service after switching on the whole system, flip the disconnect switch on the box that should be connected directly to the condenser and wait for the fan to stop spinning. Then you can proceed with cleaning.
Some systems also have a drain tube coming off of the condenser, often PVC or the like, that might need to be cleaned out. Check for any blockages in this drain, as blockages can cause problems.
These run from your condenser to the air handler. They are covered in foam insulation. Make sure that the foam is still in place and lines are well covered. If they are not, the lines can condense and make your system work harder to cool the air than it should, causing strain and wear on your system.
Coils and Fins
To get a little bit more involved into cleaning your system, you may need to clean the coils and fins. These are important because a dirty AC coil can cause the efficiency of your system to drop significantly and an off-kilter fin doesn’t allow air to flow where it should. So cleaning and straightening of these should be a priority.
A good rule of thumb on coil cleaning is that it should be done once a month when you replace your filters. Depending on the dustiness of your environment, you may need to clean your coils more often. Check out our coil cleaners here. Clean the coils on your condenser(s) as well as your inside evaporator coils.
All of these coils get quite dirty from their environment and can benefit from cleaning. To clean, power off your system if needed and use a refrigerator coil brush and coil cleaner. If you use a spray coil cleaner, be sure to spray the cleaner only on the coils rather than the electronic components inside your system. Make sure to read the safety label, and protect your eyes and hands as needed. Some of these coil cleaners are acid-based.
You will find that a fin comb is also a helpful item. This tool adjusts fins that are out of alignment and moves them back into place so that they are not blocking airflow. To use the fin comb to adjust your fins, make sure that the power to your condenser or evaporator is completely off. If it isn’t, switch power off. Remove the cover and very gently run comb over fins to straighten and adjust. The fins are quite fragile, so be very careful when doing this.
With a little careful maintenance and cleaning on your part, you can keep your building cool. In doing this, you keep your air conditioning system running at peak efficiency, you get the most benefit from the system, and you allow your system to not strain to keep you and your building cool and comfortable. Ultimately, however, a well-maintained system keeps money in your pocket.