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 of Texas, it’s nice to know how to take care of your AC unit yourself and Maintenance Tips for your HVAC System.
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 of Texas 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 of Texas is around to help. We also do air conditioning installation and air conditioning replacement. Any questions? Contact Superior HVAC today!
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People like things to be comfortable and a lot of that comfort comes down to the temperature. We can’t really control the temperature outside, but with the help of modern HVAC technology, we are able to create a controlled environment inside of a building or a home. So, when the going gets rough outside (as it often does in the Houston area, especially with the frequent sweltering heat we experience), the simple and effective solution is to go inside. Don’t forget to thank your local HVAC system professionals in The Woodlands for making a comfortable home possible!
If the key to being comfortable inside of your home is with an HVAC system, then it definitely pays to take proper care of it. Here at Superior HVAC of Texas, we don’t necessarily expect our readers to be heating and cooling experts, and that’s perfectly okay. That’s why our air conditioning installation and residential HVAC repair services exist, actually, to help your home stay at a comfortable temperature even when things go awry with your heating and cooling systems.
In the spirit of education (and talking about something that we’re passionate about), The Woodlands air conditioning installation experts here at Superior HVAC of Texas are going to cover some HVAC system maintenance pointers. Even if you’re not mechanically-inclined, you might be pleasantly surprised at how easy and effective some of these pointers are. For even more information, feel free to reach out to our HVAC specialists today.
After you’ve noticed that your home isn’t so cooled down anymore despite multiple attempts at banging on your thermostat, you’ll want to investigate the situation. Before you meddle with anything on your air conditioning unit, do yourself a favor and shut the power off. Due to the inherent dangers of working around electricity and the air conditioner’s moving parts, it is absolutely essential that you completely turn off power to the unit. On the exterior condenser and compressor area, look for an exterior shut-off box near the unit. Also, don’t forget to turn the power off at the breaker box.
You don’t have to be a mechanic or HVAC repairman to notice and remove any debris lodged in your system - so long as you have access to extremely basic tools, you’ve got this. Begin with the exterior condenser and compressor area by removing the fan cage. Next, using a standard screwdriver or wrench, remove the fasteners and lift the cage or fan grill away from the top of the unit. With a gloved hand or a vacuum of sorts, clean out any leaves or other debris from the interior.
This is another relatively simple Houston HVAC maintenance tip that’s no more difficult than removing any debris from your unit. Start by removing the outer covers and use the brush attachment on a powerful shop vacuum to remove all the outside dirt that you can. Next, by using the gentle stream of water from a standard garden hose, simply spray through the pins from the inside out to remove any built-up dirt or debris that’s stuck in between each fin. Note that you should never use a pressure washer to do this because the sheer power can damage and bend the fins.
If the fins of your residential HVAC unit are particularly dirty, you can easily purchase a commercial cleaning spray at a local home improvement or hardware store. Just follow the directions on the container and your fins should be just about as good as new.
Over time, fins become bent due to debris, adverse weather conditions, and other reasons. Any reduction in airflow through the fins can reduce your system’s efficiency, so you’ll want to make sure that the fins are straightened out as best you can. To do this, you can use a butter knife or a specialized fin-straightening tool. Make sure to be gentle enough to that the tubing embedded within the fins is not damaged.
Once you’ve finished cleaning up inside the unit, replace the fan cage. Rake any leaves and leftover debris outside the condenser and cut back branches and vegetation at least two feet in all directions, as this will help ensure proper airflow around the unit. During any periods of time when your air conditioning condenser is not in use (a rarity down here in Texas, to be sure), it’s a good idea to cover the top of the unit with a simple piece of plywood or plastic in order to keep debris from falling in.
That being said, make sure not to completely cover the unit’s sides as moisture can build up inside and cause corrosion. It’s also worth noting that a completely covered unit encourages vermin to build nests inside, so be sure to remove any cover when the unit is in operation.
Next, you’ll want to level your unit. This is because, over time, the pad upon which the condenser unit sits on can begin to tip as the soil settles beneath it. An out-of-level condenser unit can cause the compressor inside of it to fail prematurely. Check your condenser to see how level it is and use rot-resistant shims to bring it back to a proper level. The only exception here is if you have a heat pump system, as many heating and cooling experts agree that it’s okay for the pad to be slightly sloped away from the home’s foundation in order allow defrost run-off during the winter. Of course, this rarely applies to us here in the south.
There are many other maintenance items that we didn’t even get to, so hopefully today’s blog post gave you more of an idea about some of the things that go into properly upkeeping your HVAC system. Stay tuned as we cover additional pointers to ensure that your heating and cooling unit works properly and efficiently, keeping you comfortable in your home and even saving you money on your energy bills. If you have any questions or you’re in need of AC repair in The Woodlands, please contact Superior HVAC of Texas today!