Tips on Keeping your System Clean and Running Properly
1. Turn off the power on the outside of the unit as well as on your breaker box inside your home.
2. Remove all trash particles from the fan and any other place inside and outside of the unit. Vacuums can be used for the removal of wet leaves, dead bugs, dirt, etc.
3. Spray the fins with your garden hose or fin cleaning spray; never use a pressure washer because these can damage the fins. Fix bent fins by using a butter knife or other flat surface tool; this will increase air flow into those areas previously impacted by warped fins. Be cautious as to not damage the tubing. Fin straightening tools can be found at your local hardware store.
4. Place the cage back onto the unit and clean around the system – rake, sweep, use a leafblower, cut back any branches hanging close to the unit, etc.
5. During colder months, slightly cover the top of the unit with a piece of wood or plastic to prevent dead tree/plant debris from coming inside of the unit. Do not completely cover the unit, this can trap moisture inside as well as encourage pests to build nests.
6. Make sure your unit is level. As soil settles underneath the condenser pad, your unit could start to shift. Restore balance by using rot-resistant shims.
7. Clean the evaporator coils. Dust off the coils first, then spray with a no-rinse coil cleaner. Clean the drain pain of excess coil spray soap, hot water, and a small amount of bleach. Pour a mixture of 50% water and 50% bleach down the drain to remove any clogs and/or debris. Drain pan tablets are effective for preventing further clogs and inhibiting algae growth.
8. If the bleach water mix drains quickly, skip this step. If not, clean the evaporator coil drain, as it can contain algae and mold growth from the condensation in the drain pad. If you are using a vacuum, remove the paper filter so it won’t become damaged, and hold the vacuum tube at the end of the drain line for 2-3 minutes.
9. Change the filter. This should be done at least twice a year – before the heating season and before the cooling season – to ensure your unit is running efficiently. Be wary of “air purifying” and “HEPA” filters, these can actually restrict airflow and cause the indoor coil to freeze.
10. With your system now clean, turn the power back on at the breaker box and on the external unit.