Here is a step-by-step guide to clean and maintain your Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning system (called HVAC by the professionals), preferably just before each cooling season. Maintaining your Air-conditioner/Heater will help you save money on energy and extend your unit’s lifespan.
Step 1: Shut off the power
Step 2: Remove debris
- On the exterior condenser / compressor, remove the fan cage.
- Using a screwdriver, remove the fasteners and lift the cage or fan grill away from the top of the unit.
- Clean debris from the interior.
Step 3: Clean and straighten the fins
- With a strong stream from a garden hose, spray through the fins to remove dirt or debris from between them.
- Straighten the fins using a butter knife.
Step 4: Level the condenser unit
Check the level of the pad upon which the condenser unit sits. Use rot-resistant shims to bring it back to level.
Step 5: Clean the evaporator coil
On the inside furnace unit, find the evaporator coil door. Use a soft brush to dust off the coil, then spray the coil with commercially available no-rinse coil cleaner. The spray will foam up and then drip into the drain pan. Clean out the drain pan with soap, hot water, and bleach. Then, pour a cup of 50% bleach and 50% water down the drain. To keep the drain clear longer-term, place a commercially available drain pan tablet in the pan.
Step 6: Change the blower filter
Change your furnace / Air condition system’s filter regularly (twice a year). Remove the old filter and replace by a new filter that has the same airflow rating. Match the air-flow direction arrows on the filter to the arrows on the unit.
Turn the power back on and check that everything works perfectly.
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