Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling
Dirt is the enemy and your defense is simple and inexpensive.
Central air conditioning units are simple machines which take the warm air from inside your home and put it outside. There are two parts that do the bulk of this 'Heat Transfer", they are the inside coil and the outside coil. A coil that is covered with dirt does not transfer heat very well.
The outside coil is the outer layer of the unit located outdoors. First, shut off the power to the unit. Clear any weeds or decorative plants away from the machine. The machine should have a good 18 to 24" of clear space around it. More is better. If possible, nothing but blue sky should be above the unit. Although there are special detergents used by commercial contractors, I have found that in most residential locations, using a simple garden hose to wash the spaces between the aluminum fins is adequit. If you find that the fins are blocked, you should have a professional coil cleaning. While you are at the unit, take the time to straighten any fins that are bent over. Again, if a large area is bent and you find that you are damaging the fins, call a professional as they have special tools.
The inside coil is not so easy to access. For this reason, a high quality indoor air filter is recommended. Many people use carboard encased fiberglass filters, which cost about $1.00 each. Much better to go with a pleated media filter, even better, one maked high efficiency. Change it whe the surface is covered with a fine, even layer of dirt. Some homes will require monthly changing, most will need it every 3 months and a few will only need it once every 6 months. The Glass Fiber filters only catch the very big pieces, allowing the small particles of dust to flow into you indoor coil. WHile operating in the air conditioning mode, the inside coil is wet. This is because part of the process of removing heat involves removing humidity. WHen the fine dirt mixes with the moisture, a fine mud starts to build. If allowed to continue, the deminished air flow will result in poor performance and will require a professional cleaning that can take as much as 12 to 16 hours and involve extra charges for equipment involved in protecting the environment. In a worst case senerio, low air flow can cause the compressor to fail. Those 'Expensive" filters really are a bargain.
Posted by cntrolwiz on
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