Simple DIY Summer Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips
This has been quite the summer so far!
For starters, we are being challenged to navigate the impact of an unprecedented global pandemic and the ripple effect it has throughout our lives.
We are also having to do this while in the midst of the hottest summer season on record.
To make matters even, well, hotter, many media sources are recommending that we switch off the A/C to stay safe from airborne virus droplets.
For those who are choosing to keep running their A/C, many of our customers are understandably hesitant to schedule important routine preventative safety maintenance for their hard-working air conditioners.
In this blog post, we share simple air conditioning maintenance tips that you can do yourself.
If you have any questions or need more guidance about how to follow these summer a/c maintenance tips at home, just post a comment below or give us a call.
Can A/C Spread COVID-19?
This is the question that is on everyone’s mind right now.
While not everyone agrees, and there is much more research to be done, the very latest scientific and HVAC engineering studies suggest that yes, air conditioning may be able to play a role in spreading COVID-19.
The two big concerns are airflow (ventilation and air circulation) and trapped toxins (filtration and purification).
This is why we start out these summer maintenance tips with a note about PPE (personal protective equipment).
Simple DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance
These tips will help you operate your air conditioner more safely during these challenging summer times – and temperatures!
SAFETY NOTE: Always power off your air conditioner before you start working on it. This includes unplugging the unit and flipping the breaker switch.
1. First, put on your mask, gloves, safety goggles and other appropriate PPE.
It is always a great idea to wear safety goggles, gloves and a face mask when working on your HVAC system. And this summer in particular, you don’t want to work on your HVAC system without using PPE.
Taking time to protect yourself will keep dust and debris out of your respiratory passages and eyes and protect your hands from sharp edges.
2. Change the air filter.
There has been more than a little debate on whether it is safer to leave a dirty air filter in place or change it out (or clean and replace it) during the coronavirus pandemic.
At Shipton’s Heating and Cooling, we believe cleaner is safer.
As long as you are wearing your PPE and are ensuring that any vulnerable or ill individuals are safely situated out of the area where you are working, we recommend making sure your air filter stays as clean and useful as possible.
3. Clean your air registers and exhaust vents.
It is easy to forget all about those hard-working air registers and exhaust vents – the same ones that keep delivering cool air to each room in your space and pushing out stale hot air.
Dust and dirt can easily build up on the vents and registers. You can safely remove this debris with some help from a damp paper towel. You can also use a water and detergent solution on a paper towel for some extra sanitizing benefits.
4. Clean the outdoor components of your HVAC system.
The next step is to give the same cleaning treatment to outdoor HVAC components. Try not to do this part in the heat of the day – wait until evening or do it in the morning when it is cooler.
If you can reach them, you will want to start by cleaning the compressor coils. You need to do this gently to avoid bending the delicate fins from pressurized water or air.
If your outdoor unit is very dirty or dusty, you may want to use a vacuum cleaner attachment to suck out the dirt and debris. Then you can spritz on a soap and water solution and (if desired) gently spray the coils clean with your garden hose.
Finish by cleaning off the whole outer casing of the A/C unit.
5. Clean the interior components of your HVAC system.
If you can safely reach the evaporator coils and feel comfortable doing so, this is where you will want to focus your interior A/C maintenance efforts.
The evaporator coils are the indoor equivalent of the outdoor condenser coils. The coils are where the majority of the dust and debris tends to accumulate. You may need to remove a few screws and pull back some tape to get to them.
Right now, it is not safe to use compressed air to clean your evaporator coils, since this will free trapped dust and toxins to circulate in your indoor air.
Instead, spritz on some detergent and water solution and wipe the coils clean using paper towels or a damp rag. You may also want to use a soft-bristled brush to remove caked-on debris.
Next, verify that the drain line is clear (not clogged), inspect the drain pan and empty it if needed.
Finally, replace the tape and screws and gently clean any other areas where you notice dust and debris has gathered.
6. Remove your PPE and dispose of everything safely.
Be sure to safely dispose of your mask and gloves and give your safety goggles and work clothes a good cleaning with a mild detergent, or soap and hot water.
7. Make a note in your calendar to re-check everything in one month.
During these high-use months when the heat is skyrocketing, you will want to make extra time to re-check that your air conditioner is operating safely and efficiently.
Get in Touch With The Experts at Shipton’s
HVAC, electrical and plumbing have all been deemed essential services during the stay at home order here in Ontario.
Do you have more questions about air quality, ventilation safety or DIY tips that you can do at home? Give our qualified technicians at Shipton’s a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online! We are located in Hamilton, Ontario, and service the surrounding areas, including Ancaster, Burlington, Grimsby, Oakville etc.