It won't be long before you switch from using your heating system to running your air conditioner (A/C). No big deal, right? Just selecting another setting on the controls. Actually, before you turn on your A/C, you want to be sure it's clean and running right. That's why we highly recommend adding your HVAC system to your spring cleaning chores every year.
CLEANING THE OUTDOOR CONDENSER
OK, so most of the "cleaning" of your HVAC system should probably be done by our HVAC technician. But you can do a few things before you schedule your tech's annual visit.
Start by cleaning up around the outdoor condenser. Leaves, limbs, weeds and other debris should be removed so that air flow is not impeded. Trim back vegetation to provide a 2-foot clearing around the unit. If your unit is inside a sturdy metal housing and you can gain easy access to it, look inside and clear away leaves, twigs and other debris.
Look at the unit's coils (the metal fins on the sides). If they appear to be coated in dirt and dust, you can clean them (gently) with a sprayer on your hose. For really dirty coils, you may need to use coil cleaner and a soft brush. Be careful not to bend them. If they need straightening, use a fin comb from the hardware store.
Change the indoor unit's air filter, if you know how. Make sure you use the right size filter. If you know where they are, have a look at the unit's evaporator coils to see if they are dirty. You might also check the unit's condensate drain pan to make sure it's clear of sludge and other debris, so that condensation can drain away. It's best to ask your tech to clean these parts during inspection.
Check all indoor vents to make sure there are no obstructions around them. You can also clean vents and grills with a vacuum attachment.
Visit the Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar website for in-depth information about spring cleaning the HVAC system and other HVAC topics, or call us at (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).