If you enjoy the cooling air benefit from a central air conditioning system, you will want it to run effectively throughout the summer months without incident. One big part of air conditioning maintenance is cleaning it out to remove debris and obstructions. Here are some instructions to follow when cleaning your air conditioning compressor and evaporator so they run efficiently during hot weather.
Turning Off The Power
Before attempting to work on your air conditioning system, the power should be shut off so the system does not try cooling while you are cleaning. In most cases there will be an outdoor shutoff box located on the exterior of your home near the compressor unit. Pull out a block or flip a switch inside this box to turn the unit off. For the evaporator portion of your central air, shut off the furnace switch. This is usually located on a red or black switch plate on a wall near the furnace. If you cannot locate either of these shut off locations, turn the power off at your main circuit breaker panel.
Cleaning Out The Compressor
The compressor needs to be completely cleaned out before you use your air conditioning system for the summer and again before you intend on packing it up for the winter. First, remove the compressor cover. This may need to be unscrewed to remove. Vacuum the small metal fins using a soft-bristled brush attachment. Do your best to hold the bristles about an inch away so they do not bend the fins while removing dust from them. Vacuum around the fan by moving the blades with your hand as you do so. Wipe down the fan blades using a mild detergent mixed with water. Do this with a non-abrasive sponge and dry with a piece of microfiber cloth.
Cleaning Out The Evaporator
The evaporator portion of your air conditioner is near or on top of your furnace. The coils need to be regularly cleaned to remove dust buildup. Again, use the brush attachment to remove dirt. In many cases the coils will be in an enclosure. If this is true for your unit, call an air conditioning service to take care of the cleaning process. The condensation hose is another part of the unit that needs to be cleaned. Remove it from the unit and submerge it into a sink full of warm, soapy water. Stick one end up to the faucet of the sink and turn on the water to rinse out the soap inside. There are special condensation cleaning brushes that can be used to loosen any algae buildup that may be present inside. Click here to learn more about HVAC systems.