Central A/C - Regular Maintenance


Old 06-05-14, 09:26 AM
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Central A/C - Regular Maintenance

I have central air in a house I recently purchased. The system is about ten years old and is running fine. What kind of regular maintenance can I do on my own? Simple things to check, etc..
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Old 06-05-14, 10:13 AM
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Main thing, of course, is to stay on top of your filter changes. There's no hard and fast rule on when, as it depends on your environment and how often the system is running. Unfortunately a visual check isn't always reliable. By the time a filter looks clogged, it's been clogged for a while. If you are using the el-cheapo spun filters (which are pretty much useless) you should step up to something like a pleated dust and pollen filter. $7-8 for a 3 pack. At that price, monthly changes when the system is in use. Some will say switch to a 4" media filter, but that can involve extensive work and expense if it's not set up for them already. Filters are designed to keep your system clean, not filter everything out of the air.

As to the system itself, an inspection of the evaporator (cooling) coils should be done at least every 2 years. If filters are changed, a simple vacuuming is all thats needed. The secondary drain pan and piping should be checked as well. By checked, I mean, make sure that water in the pan actually drains out. Often, since it's unused normally, it can become clogged and you won't find that out til you have water dripping out of your ceiling (depending on where it's installed). If you see rust or water in the pan (which you shouldn't if the main drain is working correctly), then you need to investigate.

The outside unit should be inspected and cleaned yearly. Do a search for cleaning your outdoor condenser coils, any questions...come back and ask.

Check the capacitor at the outside unit for bulging or an oily substance on it. Do a visual of the contactor for corrosion or burnt contacts. Make sure the insulation around the lines from interior to exterior is in good condition.

The Pro's may have other advice, but this worked for me at my old place and it was 17 y/o and working fine when I moved. The one time I had a tech out at about 14 yrs (which turned out to be a thermostat issue), he said it was probably the cleanest looking unit he'd ever seen for it's age.
Old 06-05-14, 01:47 PM
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Easy Ways for you to check A/C Performance

Okay, 2004 puts the SEER Rating at 10 or 12-SEER which means at 80F indoors & 50% Relative Humidity the temperature coming off he outdoor condenser should be around 20F +/- 2degrees 'above' the outdoor temperature.

Get a low cost relative humidity gauge at a hardware store for indoor humidity readings.

Check the temp from the nearest supply register compare it to the room air-temperature; should be 18 to 21F.

Check the air temp off the outdoor condenser compare to outdoor temp.

This will provide us with a lot of clues on how well he system is performing.

Post all your test results here!

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