As warm weather approaches, this is a great time to schedule your residential HVAC system maintenance to make sure your central air conditioner is working efficiently.  Keeping your air conditioner in top working order will help it last longer and reduce your energy bills.
There are a few things you can do yourself, but don’t forget to have the system serviced by an experienced HVAC technician.  Air conditioning professionals have special equipment including gauges to check the pressure in the system that homeowner cannot do themselves.

Due to the way that a modern air conditioning system works, keeping the coils clean and free of blockages is important to the efficient operation of the system.  A typical residential air conditioning system has a condenser coil located in the outdoor unit and an evaporator coil installed in the duct system above the furnace.

Coolant is compressed and pumped through the outdoor condenser coil where it is cooled by blowing air across the coils.  The coolant then flows to the indoor evaporator coil where it expands and gets very cold. Indoor air is cooled by blowing it across the coils and is then distributed throughout the home through the ducts.

As you can see, good airflow across the coils is important to keep your system operating efficiently.  Dirt, dust, and debris that blocks airflow across the coils make the system less efficient which means it has to work harder.  Keep your condenser coil free of dirt, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris and make sure there is at least two to three feet of space around the unit.

Indoors, change your air filter regularly to help keep the evaporator coil clean.  If the evaporator coil becomes clogged with dirt and dust, you can clean it carefully using the brush attachment with a vacuum cleaner.  Be sure not to damage the soft aluminum fins.

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