During the brutal summer months, chances are you were running the air conditioning consistently, just to keep yourself comfortable as you worked on projects around the house or to get a good night’s sleep without soaking the bedsheets with sweat. But as the extreme summer heat begins to taper off, you may not need to rely on air conditioning as frequently. If you have one or more window or wall air conditioners in your home, now’s the perfect time to do some maintenance when you aren’t running the unit or units continuously. Repair Clinic also recommends you start thinking about what you’re going to do with the air conditioner during the fall or winter months when you won’t be using it at all.
Maintenance and storage tips for your air conditioner
Properly maintaining your window or wall air conditioner will improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and extend the life of the unit. But before performing any maintenance or repair work, be sure to review the owner’s manual for instructions unique to your model. The following are the six things you should do to keep your air conditioner in peak condition so it will continue to function properly now and when you need it again next summer:
1) Clean the air filter on your air conditioner.
If you’ve been running your air conditioner a lot this summer, the unit’s air filter has probably collected a lot of dirt and debris. On most models, the air filter is easily accessible by removing the air conditioner’s front panel. Take out the filter and clean it gently with a combination of warm water and dish soap. Or, if you wish, you can use white vinegar instead. Let the filter air dry completely before reinstalling it. We recommend cleaning the air filter once a month during the summer months or more frequently if you have pets or allergies. If the filter has tears, holes, or other damage, it should be replaced with a new one. If your unit uses a foam filter, you can purchase replacement electrostatic filter material and cut it to accommodate the filter frame if necessary.
2) Clean the AC unit’s condenser coils.
Over time, dust and dirt will build up on the inside of the air conditioner’s condenser coils. This build-up will require your AC to work harder to remove heat – increasing energy consumption and your monthly electric bill. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned the unit’s condenser coils, you should do it now. You’ll need to completely remove the air conditioner cabinet to access the coils. They can be cleaned by blowing compressed air through them or by using a soft bristle brush and a spray bottle of household cleaner to wipe the dirt off. You should also consider using a dedicated HVAC coil cleaning solution like Triple-D Universal Coil Cleaner. Take great care in removing the dirt. If you accidentally bend or dent the aluminum coil fins, you can use a handy fin comb to straighten out the fins.
3) Clean the AC unit’s water pan.
While you have the cabinet off, you might as well clean the unit’s water pan as well. To prevent the growth of mold and eliminate musty odors, use warm water, and dish detergent or white vinegar, to clean the inside base of the unit. Keeping the pan free of dirt or lint build-up at the bottom of the air conditioner will allow condensate water to be properly picked up by the condensing fan blade slinger ring, if applicable to your model, and sprayed onto the condenser coils to help the coils dissipate heat.
4) Inspect the AC unit’s evaporator coils for frost or ice build-up.
As we move into the fall months, the outside temperature could consistently drop below 60° Fahrenheit (15° Celsius). This can cause frost or ice to build up on the coils at the front of the air conditioner. If ice or frost has formed, you’ll know that the temperature is too low for proper operation of the unit. Avoid using the air conditioner unless the temperature remains above 60° Fahrenheit (15° Celsius).
5) Replace the remote control batteries or the remote itself.
If you’ve been using your air conditioner’s remote control a lot over the past few months, it may be time to replace the batteries. But if the remote control still won’t function with new batteries installed, you probably need a new remote. Since there’s no time like the present, enter your unit’s model number in Repair Clinic’s “Shop Parts & Get Answers” search bar to find a replacement remote control today. That way, you can be assured you will have complete control of your air conditioner next year.
6) Find a good storage location for the air conditioner.
As we get closer to the time when the air conditioner will be retired for the season, you should be thinking about protecting the unit while it’s not in use. Leaving window air conditioners fully installed during the colder months can cause drafts and lead to increased energy consumption, so it’s best to uninstall the unit and find a good storage location. An attic, basement, or utility room should be suitable for winter storage, but you should avoid storing the air conditioner in a garage since small animals, birds, and insects will likely have access to the unit, seeking shelter or building a nest inside the cabinet. In addition, mice and other rodents are known to chew on wiring, damaging the unit, and, potentially, creating a safety risk. If you have a wall-mounted air conditioner or you have no option but keep a window-mounted unit installed in the window during the off-season, be sure to use an air conditioner cover that’s specifically designed to protect air conditioning units from weather damage and keep small animals, birds, and insects out.
In addition to offering free repair solutions, Repair Clinic makes it easy to find the right maintenance products and parts for your air conditioner, from air filters and remote controls to window side curtains and frames. The same is true if you need a new fan motor, blower wheel, capacitor, or power cord to repair your unit. Just enter the full model number of the air conditioner in Repair Clinic’s “Shop Parts & Get Answers” search bar to see a complete list of the genuine OEM parts compatible with your model, from top manufacturers like Admiral, Bryant, Carrier, Frigidaire, GE, Goldstar, Goodman, LG, Lennox, Payne, Rheem, and WeatherKing. You can refine that list using the “Part Category” filter (example: “Blower Wheel & Fan Blade”) and the “Part Title” filter (example: “Fan Blade”) to locate the specific part you’re looking for. As your repair partner, Repair Clinic has the parts and know-how you need to maintain and repair all of your heating and cooling products, home appliances, and outdoor power equipment.