How To Maintain Your Central Air Conditioner And Heat Pump

Posted on: 3 May 2015

You rely on your central air conditioner and heat pump to work properly and provide you with hot or cold air as you need it. Maintenance for your HVAC system is important to keep everything running smoothly and avoid more costly repairs. Here are some tips for maintaining your central air conditioner and heat pump.

Shut Off the Power

Any time you plan to clean, maintain, or do repairs to your HVAC system, make sure the power is off completely. This helps to prevent electrical shock. Turn off the air conditioner and heat pump, then turn off the circuit breaker. You don't want someone accidentally turning it on while you are working on it. The circuit breakers in your breaker box should be labeled with the devices they go to. Make sure all breakers connected to the heating and air conditioning are in the "off" position. You can do this simply by pushing the levers down.

Remove the Grille

You will now want to remove the protective grille on the condenser unit, which is used for both the heat pump and central air conditioner. In most cases, the grille is on the side of the condenser unit and is secured by screws. Get out your screwdriver and remove the screws. Make sure to place them somewhere safe so you can re-attach the grille when you're done.

Pull away the grille from the condenser unit. You may also need to lift the top panel of the unit. Be careful when you do this so you don't damage any of the electrical connections. Once you can access the fan motor, add some lubricant to it. This should be done every time you do maintenance on the unit.

Clean the Coils

The condenser coils need to be cleaned every time you do maintenance on your central air conditioner and heat pump. The coils often have dirt and debris build-up, which can cause it to work poorly. Start by cleaning the outside of the condenser coil, removing debris, sticks and leaves that might have gotten caught. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean the outside of the coil find as well. Make sure you do this carefully and don't accidentally bend the fins.

Now you want to clean the inside of the coils. You can either clean them with a can of compressed air or by using water. If you use water, the best way to do it is with a hose that has a spray gun attachment. You can wash the inside of the coils through the outside of them. This removes any debris caught inside. Make sure when you do this you avoid the wires and fan motor.

Fix the Coil Fins

When you were cleaning the condenser coils, you might have noticed that some of the fins are bent. You will need to straighten them out before continuing. Once they have been cleaned inside and out, grab your fin comb. This is the only tool that can be used to straighten the fins. The fin comb has different teeth that you use to match to the coils. You glide the fin comb over the coil fins until they start to straighten out. Once they are straight, replace the grille on the condenser unit. Finally, make sure it is level, as this is also important. 

To learn more, contact the experts at Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc.