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Air Conditioning Cleaning

Window unit
Maintenance: Clean or replace filter once a month during peak cooling season. Store window unit in basement or utility room when not in use or use a cover to shield it. Clean condenser coils once a year. For maximum cooling, the outdoor part of an air conditioner should be shaded from the sun. Trees, shrubs or an awning can provide the shade, but they must be far enough away to allow warm air to escape. Check seal between window unit and window for gaps or leaks where cool air may escape.

Cleaning Techniques: Always unplug air conditioner unit before starting to clean it. Vacuum the front grills, air registers and return air vents.

Central unit
Remove the grill on the unit to check the air filter. Before removing the filter, notice how it is held in place so you can re-install it correctly. To clean a washable filter, brush it free of lent, then wash in soapy water. Squeeze and let the filter dry completely before re-installing. While the filter is out, check the condition of the business. Straighten bent fins by taking a putty knife between the coils and pry them gently.

Beneath the fins or coils there is normally a small drain hole to channel condensed water to a drip pan in the rear of the air conditioner. Poke a wire or straightened paper clip through the drain hole to clear it, especially if you notice water.

The condensing coils on an air conditioner will get very dirty over time. However, the dirt tends to accumulate on the inside of the coils. It will be necessary to remove the entire cover of the air conditioner to gain access to the coils. They can be cleaned by blowing compressed air at them or by using a soft bristle brush to wipe the dirt off. It is important to also clean any dirt or lint build-up in the bottom of the air conditioner, so the condensate water will be picked up by the condensing fan slinger properly.

Sources:
Sensible Homes, James Dully www.dulley.com
Greater San Antonio Builders Association www.sabuilders.com
Helpful Summer Tips courtesy of Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation
Home Hardware www.kent.net/home-hardware/tips/airconditioning.html
http://www.repairclinic.com

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