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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

DIY HVAC Maintenance


Having the most energy-efficient system ever built won’t matter much if it’s not maintained. Lack of maintenance is the number one killer of HVAC systems. Before each cooling season, it’s recommended that your system get a professional tune-up. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to make sure your system runs efficiently throughout the year.

  • Replace the filter: Learn your manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning or replacing your filters. Never run the system without the filters in place, and always let a washed filter dry completely before reinstalling it.
  • Once a month clear any leaves or debris from outdoor condensers. This is especially crucial during the summer months.
  • Clean the condenser fan blades before the start of the cooling season. Brush any dust or debris off gently and then uncover the condenser coils, gently cleaning the dirty side. Then wrap the motor and other electrical components in plastic bags and gently spray from the inside with a hose. Now check the base pan under the unit and clear it out of any debris that has gathered.
  • Inspect the fan blades: If your fan has been making a clicking noise that means it’s been striking something. If your blade has bent, don’t try to straighten it. It could have become unbalanced and will only cause more problems down the line. Replace the blade.
  • Maintain a 2 foot clearance around your unit. Don’t let any vegetation grow near it as it could obstruct the HVAC’s ability to “breathe”. If you have a lawn near the unit, make sure any grass cuttings fly away from it. During autumn, be sure to keep leaves away from the fan grill.
  • Lubricate the condenser fan motor: If there are oil ports, they will be covered with rubber or metal caps. 10 drops of SAE 20 oil per port is sufficient.
  • Shade the compressor unit: If possible, have some kind of shading over it to keep the air temperature around it 5 to 6 degrees cooler than the unshaded air.
  • Have a form-fitting cover for the winter months: Do not run the unit when it’s colder than 60 degrees outside.
  • Clean the indoor evaporator coil: Remove the front panel of your heating unit. Using a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner gently clean any dust off of the coil. Inspect the fins, making sure they’re straight. If any are bent, a fin comb can be bought at any refrigeration supply dealer.
  • Clean the drain pipe and evaporator trap: Flush the trap with water and then disinfect with one tablespoon of bleach.

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