Posted on: 13 August 2020Share
Residential air conditioners perform optimally without weekly or monthly checks and servicing. However, to maintain optimal performance, you should conduct routine maintenance every six months. Focus on the outdoor unit as it houses the main components of the entire system. Preferably, do this just before summer to ensure the system cools your home during the hot season. With this in mind, here is a detailed six-month maintenance checklist for the outdoor unit.
Clean the Outdoor Unit
Over time, dust and dirt from the surrounding environment tend to accumulate in your outdoor unit. It's paramount to clean the parts to optimize performance. Wipe down the outdoor unit using water, dish soap, and a towel. Pay attention to the fan, condenser coils, indoor evaporator coils, and fins. Check the drain pan and clean the lines to ensure they drain condensate from the outdoor unit. This is also an excellent time to get rid of any vegetation growing around the unit.
Inspect Unit Components
As you clean the outdoor components, give them a thorough check. Inspect the refrigerant tubing for leaks and check the filters for physical wear. Check the fins to make sure they aren't bent and can efficiently dissipate air from the unit. Inspect electrical components such as the motor, wiring, and connections. Are there any signs of visible wear? Are there parts that look burnt? If so, you may need an expert to look at the unit and replace the worn parts.
Check Refrigerant Levels
Low refrigerant levels can reduce the efficiency of an air conditioner. Ideally, refrigerant levels only drop when there is a leak. There isn't a way to check the levels without involving an AC contractor. However, if your unit hasn't been cooling the house as it used to before, you could be low on the fluid. Luckily, it is possible to recharge low refrigerant and restore the efficiency of the air conditioner.
Lubricate Moving Parts
New AC models don't usually need lubrication. However, if you have an old system, it probably has moving parts that require lubrication. These include the air fan motor, condenser, expansion valve, and compressor. Without lubrication, the friction that results when moving parts grind against each other can cause premature wear of the components. For the best results, buy lubes that are specially made for lubricating air conditioners.
Test the System
After cleaning, inspecting, and lubricating your air conditioner, the next step is to perform a system check. Turn on the air conditioner and observe the performance. Does it have regular cycles, or is it short-cycling? Are there unusual noises when the AC is on? Does the unit reach the set thermostat temperatures? Are there any leaks in the condensate line when the system is in operation?
If you notice any unusual performance during the six-month check, you should get immediate repairs. Involve an air conditioning contractor in this process for professional servicing.