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Basic Air Conditioning Tips


Ever heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

It’s a true statement. I wonder how many marital discussions have started with the words, “You just couldn’t leave it alone, could you?” Most likely said by a wife to a husband that couldn’t resist the urge to tinker with something that worked just fine before he broke out the tools.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is perfectly applied to air conditioning systems. If they are working well and keeping you cool, there’s nothing to fix and they are best left alone. Air conditioners are a “closed system”. They are sealed and allow for the flow and processing of refrigerants and gasses. As long as the system remains closed and tight, it will work famously.

With the admonition not to take a tool to an air conditioner that’s working, what can or should we do in the way of routine maintenance?

Change the filter regularly. Contrary to what the instructions on the package may say, there is no across the board formula for this. Here in West Texas where the wind blows the red dirt around on a weekly, if not daily, basis we should change our filters more frequently. At least once per month. A clean filter prevents dirt and particulates from infiltrating the inner workings of the unit. Also, a clean filter maximizes the air flow necessary for the unit to operate at peak efficiency.

Check your condenser and evaporator. A common problem is damaged “fins”. They are the soft aluminum lines on the back of your unit. They are easily bent, which you don’t want to do. The fins help pull the heat away from the unit. Again, it’s all about air flow. If the fins are bent it restricts the air. You can attempt to fix this with a fin comb, a tool that will straighten and help open the fins back up. If the damage is severe, this may not be an option.

If these parts of the unit are dirty, a spray foam cleaner is available. The foam will expand inside the unit and after the prescribed wait time, you simply rinse with water.

Check your drain pan. On window and wall units, be sure the unit is angled appropriately so the condensation and water flow and drain away from the house. Be sure the drain plug is removed and that there’s no dirt, leaves or debris impeding the water from draining away.

Other basic maintenance includes preventive measures like not planting hedges or plants around the exterior AC unit. Anything that can impede air flow should be kept at a distance.

Check your windows and doors for gaps and leaks. Again, AC units are a closed system. Gaps in windows and door frames can reduce the efficiency of the system.

Some AC maintenance and repair issues are more complicated and are best handled by professionals. Jobs like locating leaks, system purging and refrigerant recharging should be handled by trained technicians.

The experts at Sinclair want you to keep your cool this summer. Call us today and we’ll be glad to inspect your AC system for present and potential problems. By catching issues early, we can save you substantial amounts of money. Call us today at 806-749-COOL (2665)