Summer often takes us by surprise in Alberta. One week we’re experiencing a blizzard, and the following week the temperatures soar into the thirties and keep rising. When you spend a day sweating in the unexpected heat, the two things many Canadians look forward to most is coming home to are an ice-cold drink and working air conditioning.

If you’re turning on your a/c for the first time in the season and haven’t serviced it yet, you might be disappointed when it doesn’t work correctly. Just like any appliance, an a/c unit needs maintenance, especially after sitting dormant all winter long. To avoid disappointment, we recommend tuning up your unit before the hot weather arrives.

 

How to Maintain Your A/C Unit Yourself

If you’re planning to give your a/c unit a spring cleaning yourself, you’ll want to ensure you have a few key supplies ready before you start, including:

  • gloves,
  • safety glasses,
  • protective apron,
  • coil brush,
  • fin comb,
  • foaming coil cleaner,
  • and a garden hose.

The tools and foaming coil cleaner should be available to purchase at your local hardware store or online.

  1. Safety First

Ensuring your personal safety should be the priority in any home maintenance task. Your air conditioning unit is an electric appliance that can deliver electrical shocks, so you should always turn off the power before doing any inspections or maintenance to it. After turning off the power, inspect the a/c unit. If any plants or bushes that are overgrown and trim them back. Take note of any visible damage. If there is any significant damage, don’t attempt to repair it yourself; call an HVAC expert to come and take care of it for you.

  1. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

The next step to preparing your a/c unit for summer is to clean or replace the air filter. Even if you cleaned your filter at the end of last season, it’s likely to be musty or may have collected naturally floating debris throughout the off-season.

  1. Clean the condenser and condenser coil

The condenser is the portion of your a/c system that sits outside. For this next task, you’ll need your protective gear and cleaning supplies (gloves, safety glasses, protective apron, coil brush, fin comb, foaming coil cleaner, and a garden hose). Start by removing the cover and taking out any large debris from the coils. Next, use the coil comb to clean out the dirt and small particles, then rinse lightly with your garden hose.

After the coils are rinsed, generously apply the foaming coil cleaner and allow it to sit for about ten minutes (or as directed on the bottle of the cleaning product). When the time is up, use the garden hose to wash away the cleaner, using a side-to-side motion, careful not to bend the fins. If they do become bent, you can use a fin comb to straighten them out.

  1. Inspect the Coolant Lines

The last step is to inspect the coolant lines. These pipes connect the condenser unit to the house and the rest of the system inside. These pipes are typically wrapped in foam insulation. If there are any cracks or gaps in the insulation, you will need to repair them. Both foam insulation sleeves or insulation tape will do the trick.

Your A/C Maintenance Checklist:

  1. Turn unit power off
  2. Clean or replace the filter
  3. Clean the condenser and condenser coil
  4. Inspect the coolant line

Once you’ve completed your a/c maintenance checklist, you can turn the power on and test out your unit. You should be feeling nice and chill, and fully ready for summer.

 

Your Heating and Cooling Experts in Edmonton, Alberta

Does your air conditioner need a tune-up? Don’t have time to do it yourself? Get in touch with our experienced HVAC technicians at MAX Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll get your a/c running in time to enjoy the summer heat. Or, if you need a brand new central air system, we can help get you set up!