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Home Air Conditioning Maintenance Made Easy

Left alone, cool things warm up from their warmer surroundings. Every air cooling system takes advantage of some very interesting laws of physics to reverse this and make your home temperature lower than the outdoors. Fortunately, you don't have to be a scientist to keep that system working well. Here are some simple tips to do just that...

The most common AC system problems result from something being at least partially clogged. There are several possible sources for that congestion, but the most common is dirty drain lines.

Just like clogged arteries, when your drain line gets filled with material your system will have a 'heart attack'. In this case, the cooling capacity is reduced and sometimes compressors will stop functioning altogether.

Every system has a condensate drain pan and drain line. AC systems don't just cool the air, they de-humidify it too. The moisture removed from the interior has to go somewhere. That somewhere is into the cooling coil and out the condensate drain line.

Since that water almost always contains minerals, and often some mildew, lines can get clogged. Quarterly cleaning will help keep that part of the system healthy and functioning efficiently. Use a commercial coil cleaner and a wire brush a few minutes every few months and your system will stay in good working order.

Apart from cleaning the system, do a little preventive maintenance to head the problem off before it happens. Change the filter monthly every month it's in use, and before first use. Most modern filters have an anti-microbial capacity, but check to make sure.

That has the added advantage of reducing mold, mildew and algae buildup within the system. It also helps keep it out of your home where it can contribute to discomfort and cause medical problems. And it helps to keep dust from being blown inside the house.

Lots of allergies are made worse by dust-borne pollen, dust-mites and other air-circulated nasties. You'll be doing the allergy sufferer in the house a favor by keeping the system clean.

AC systems often have places that moisture gathers and remains where mold, mildew or algae can build up despite the best filters' efforts. Heavy buildup may need to be removed by a professional. But for smaller jobs, a mild disinfectant will help eliminate the problem. Just spray into the filter intake and let the system do its job normally.

Help keep the motor working efficiently by following the manufacturers guidelines. Usually that amounts to no more than a few drops of electric motor oil squirted into the oil ports once a year. While you're at it, inspect the blower motor fan blade to check for mold or mildew buildup.

Since the whole idea of an AC system is to take warm air, cool it and put it into the house (expelling even warmer air outside), your system should be several degrees cooler than any other area. The duct temperature should be from 15-25 degrees cooler than the air inside your home. It warms slightly as it moves through the system.

Check the supply duct with a stem-type or electronic wire thermometer. If the difference is too small, check filters, lines, circuit breakers, etc. If need be, call for professional help.