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dirty air conditioner coilsFor an air conditioner to work efficiently, it must be able to transfer heat from inside your home to the outside effectively. A coating of dirt, dust and other debris on the A/C coils can prevent this, by insulating the coils from the surrounding air and reducing the efficiency of the heat transfer process. To minimize energy usage and reduce utility costs, the A/C coils should be cleaned at least once a year.

The Importance of Clean A/C Coils

It is estimated that dirty evaporator and condenser coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning system by over 30 percent. Additionally, reduced heat transfer efficiency can cause other problems, such as poor cooling performance, frozen evaporator coils and compressor overheating.

How to Prevent Dirty Coils

To keep the evaporator coils clean, it is important to check the air filter at least once a month and replace it as necessary. A dirty air filter can allow dust and debris to accumulate on the evaporator instead of the air filter, and it can also reduce airflow in the system, leading to other problems. To keep the condenser coils clean, keep an area of two feet around the condenser unit clean of vegetation and debris, including trash, tall grass, plants and overhanging trees or bushes. Remove large debris as it falls into the condenser coils, and when mowing, be sure to discharge clippings away from the condenser.

Cleaning the Coils

The fins on the evaporator and condenser coils are extremely delicate and can be bent with very little force. It is best to leave the majority of the cleaning to an HVAC professional, who will clean the coils during a routine maintenance visit. Ideally, maintenance should be performed twice a year, though once is sufficient for some systems. Between visits, the condenser coils can be cleaned by removing large debris and rinsing the coils with a hose, after shutting the power off. The evaporator is often difficult to access, and should be cleaned professionally.

To have your A/C coils inspected and cleaned, contact our team at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.

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air conditioner troubleshootingAir conditioning problems can be inconvenient and uncomfortable even on mild days in Southwest Florida, but in many cases, the cause may be simple, such as airflow problems from a dirty filter or a compressor that overheats on an especially hot day. Before calling a professional, there are a few air conditioner troubleshooting tips that you should try first, possibly saving valuable time and money.

Check for Power

When the air conditioner will not turn on, make sure that the thermostat is set correctly and that it has power, replacing the batteries if necessary. If the thermostat is working, check for tripped breakers, and reset them, even if they are not tripped. This will often reset the control systems or safety systems. If the compressor has an overheat safety switch, reset it, as well.

Check for Airflow Problems

Poor cooling performance or frozen coils could be the result of airflow problems. Check for a dirty air filter and replace it if necessary. Check all vents and ducts for obstructions, such as furniture or curtains that block the vents, or items that have fallen into floor ducts. If the problem remains, check the evaporator and blower fan for dust or dirt accumulations, and carefully clean them with the power off.

Clean the Condenser

Poor cooling performance can also be caused by a dirty condenser outside. Make sure the area around the condenser is free of debris, such as tall grass or lawn furniture. Check the condenser coil for debris, such as leaves and grass, and clean it with a garden hose, if necessary. Make sure the fan spins freely and operates properly.

Clean the Condensate Drain

If you notice water leaking from the air conditioner or it will not turn on, make sure the condensate drain is clean. Some systems will shut down automatically if the drain is clogged. Use a shop vacuum or a thin wire to remove dirt and algae from the drain line.

For more air conditioner troubleshooting tips, talk to our professionals at Conditioned Air today. We have been serving homeowners throughout Southwest Florida since 1962.

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indoor allergensIndoor air pollutants like dust, mold spores, pet dander and dust mites can make your entire family uncomfortable, but especially those with allergies or asthma. With a bit of extra care and maintenance around your home, you can remove many common allergy triggers and prevent future accumulations.

Have Your HVAC System Serviced

Routine annual, or semi-annual, maintenance of your HVAC system, such as cleaning the evaporator coil, blower fan and air handler cabinet, can reduce the accumulation and distribution of allergy triggers, while also improving system efficiency and extending its lifespan. Between service visits, you should replace the air filter yourself monthly to minimize allergens and dust, and every few years, consider having the ducts cleaned to eliminate any residual accumulations.

Upgrade Your Air Filter

If your air conditioner or heating system has only a basic air filter, it may allow smaller contaminants to pass through. Consider upgrading to a filter with a higher MERV rating for improved air quality or, for the best air filtration, consider electrostatic or HEPA systems.

Control Humidity

Dust mites, mold and other allergens thrive in a moist environment. If your home is excessively humid, consider adding a dehumidifier to maintain humidity levels at 50 percent or lower, and make sure that your air conditioner is sized correctly for your home so that it can dehumidify properly.

Use Hypoallergenic Bedding

Use hypoallergenic mattress covers, sheets, pillows and pillow covers for each bedroom, as well as easily-washable blankets, and clean them weekly. Minimize clutter in the bedroom and use hardwood or vinyl flooring instead of carpet to prevent dust accumulations.

Clean Frequently

Sweep and mop hard-surface floors often, and vacuum carpets at least weekly with a machine that uses a HEPA filter to minimize dust. Dust often using a moist cloth or disposable wipes, and consider adding easily-washable slip covers to keep furniture clean.

Other Options

If allergens are still a problem in your home, consider installing a whole-home air cleaning or ventilation system.