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At the start of each cooling season, a licensed professional should perform inspection of the Air Conditioning System. However, homeowners can do a lot of this work themselves.
 
Clean the Exterior Condenser Unit & Components
That large box on the outside of your home is the condenser unit. It is designed to move warm air from inside the home to the exterior. Coils of pipe are surrounded by thousands of tiny metal fins that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat. Power off the unit and follow these tips:
 
Remove any debris from the unit’s exterior and trim back any vegetation several feet for proper airflow.
 
Remove the grill cover to clean out any debris from the interior – you can use a garden hose.
 
Straighten out bent fins with a fin comb.
 
Add lubricating oil to the motor – check your owner’s manual for instructions.
 
Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil – again, see your owner’s manual.
 
Replace the insulation on the refrigerant line if corroded or beginning to deteriorate.
 
 

Other tips include:

  • Inspect & clean the condensate line. If equipped with a secondary line, a clogged primary line will be evidenced by water coming out of the secondary line which may be connected to the overflow pan under the interior unit (air handler). If you don’t know where either of your condensate lines terminates, ask the technician when you schedule a routine tune-up. For systems with a condensate pump, clean the pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Replace the air filter once per month, or wash if reusable. Most households need to replace their air filter at least once per month, even for the filters that claim to be “90-day” air filters. Some units will have a washable filter at the main duct line that connects to the air handler. Clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Be sure to deactivate the cooling system in the winter. If you have a heat pump, this is especially important. If activated when the outside temperature is below 60 degrees F, the compressor can be damaged. You can also cover the outside unit during the cold months when it’s not in use to keep out debris and to further protect it from the elements.