Here in the greater Houston area, having a properly working air conditioning unit is more or less essential - who wants to sweat inside their home, after all? In light of all the heat that we experience here in Texas, it makes sense to give your air conditioning unit special attention. While you can get AC repair in The Woodlands with just a few clicks by getting in touch with us here at Superior HVAC, it’s nice to know how to take care of your AC unit yourself.
Now, we hardly expect our readers to have thorough and extensive knowledge of how to keep their system running smoothly. Fortunately, your AC repair and installation experts at Superior HVAC have such knowledge, and we’d like to continue sharing that knowledge with you in today’s blog post. If you have any questions at all about any of our air conditioning installation, air conditioning repair and air conditioning replacement services in the greater Houston area, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us today.
Now, let’s get back to some more useful air conditioning maintenance pointers.
While we’ve focused a lot on the outside and surrounding area of the air conditioning unit, we’re now going to move inside. Quick note: Like we mentioned before, please make sure to shut off the power to your AC unit to prevent the risk of electrocution as well as injury from moving parts. With that safety note aside, look inside your blower or furnace unit, and you’ll find the evaporator coil door. To access this area, you might need to remove some foil duct tape or take out a few screws or bolts, so make sure that you have some basic tools on hand.
Inside, use a soft brush to dust off the coil itself, and then spray it down with a no-rinse coil cleaner. You can usually find this at most home improvement stores. The spray should foam up and then drip into the drain pan. Next, clean out the drain pan with soap, hot water, and a little bit of bleach. Pour a cup of half bleach and half water down the drain of your unit. As a good way to keep the drain clear for the long-term, place a commercially available drain pan tablet in the pan. This should inhibit future algae growth.
The filter in your HVAC unit should be changed at least twice a year - ideally, once just before the heating season begins and once before the cooling season begins (though here in Texas, it’s more like cooling season all year round!). For those living in a particularly dusty area, it’s generally recommended to replace the blower filter even more often than twice a year.
You’ll want to replace the filter with a new filter that has the same airflow rating - don’t use a filter that isn’t rated to your current filter! While “air purifying” or HEPA filters might be tempting to use for environmental reasons, exercise caution with these filters because they can dramatically reduce airflow in your system. That, in turn, can cause the indoor coil to freeze due to the reduced amount of airflow. To replace the filter, locate the filter enclosure on the indoor furnace or AC unit where the large fresh air return duct enters the unit. Like we mentioned above, having basic tools on hand is a good idea as you may need a screwdriver to turn the latch to open the door to the filter enclosure. Remove the old filter and install the new filter, matching the airflow direction arrows on the filter to the arrows on the unit. Finish the job by closing and latching the door.
On the interior of your unit, the warm, humid air from the inside of your home is blown through the evaporator coil. Over time, algae and mold can build up and potentially plug the evaporator drain, so if the drain is not flowing or is flowing very slowly, it needs to be unplugged. A plugged drain is no good, as it can cause the system to stop cooling in order to avoid flooding.
Start by finding the drain line where it leaves the evaporator coil enclosure. The drain is typically a one-inch PVC pipe, usually in white, grey or black color. Follow it to the end where it drains, which is usually near the condenser unit but can also drain into a utility sink or a basement floor drain. Once you’ve located this area, use a shop vac to clear the drain. To prevent any damage to your vacuum filter, remove the paper filter inside of it before vacuuming.
Hold the hose or the vacuum to the end of the drain line. To “seal” the gap between the vacuum hose and the drain line, you can use duct tape or even just a rag. Vacuuming for two to three minutes should be sufficient, and clear the drain of any growing biological matter - on that note, maybe wear a pair of gloves when you’re doing this.
For any HVAC repair jobs that you can’t handle, that’s why Superior HVAC is around to help. We also do air conditioning installation and air conditioning replacement. Any questions? Contact Superior HVAC today!
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