Air Conditioning Maintenance - Two Important Tasks To Complete

Make sure to get annual maintenance on your HVAC systems to uphold your warranties.

Air Conditioning Maintenance - Two Important Tasks To Complete

Air Conditioning Maintenance - Two Important Tasks To Complete

21 July 2015
, Articles

If you have a central air conditioning system, then you probably rely on the system to keep you cool during the hot summer months. Air conditioners generally last around 10 to 15 years before a new unit needs to be purchased. However, the appliance can stop working much sooner if you forget to complete simple maintenance tasks. You probably already know about changing filters and keeping the fins straight across the outdoor compressor unit. There are many more tasks that need to be completed, so read on to learn about a few of them. 

Compressor Leveling

When your air conditioning compressor is first secured outside your home, your HVAC specialist will likely place the device on a type of pad. In some cases, concrete pads are poured to hold the air conditioner, because most air conditioners are quite heavy. The copper tubing in the unit makes up around 60% of the total air conditioner weight, and this metal weighs around 558 pounds a cubic foot. This means the compressor probably weighs at least a few hundred pounds, and the concrete keeps the hefty appliance from sinking into the earth. However, if you did not want a permanent pad installed when your air conditioner was placed, then a large rubber or vinyl pad can be used instead.

Rubber pads may start to sink into the ground over time, and this will cause the air conditioner to tip to one side. If the air conditioner is not level, then lubricating oils may pool in one area of the device, and this stops them from properly lubricating the motor. Pressure may be placed on some of the coolant lines too, and they can break. Pooling coolant issues can cause efficiency issues as well.

Straightening the Compressor

Use a level every few months during the summer to see if the compressor is level with the ground. If one side of the compressor is lower than another, then place several shims underneath the low edge of the compressor. Do not use inexpensive wooden shims that will break underneath the weight of the appliance. Use stainless steel shim varieties instead. You will need to ask a friend to gently lift the air conditioner so you can slip the shims in place.

If you notice that the compressor continues to sink over time, then it may be wise to readjust the pad to stop this from occurring. Ask a friend to help you move the AC unit off the pad. Lift up the pad and dig in the ground to remove around three or four inches of dirt. Purchase some crusher-run or crushed gravel subbase material for the hole. Secure around two or three inches of gravel and fill the rest of the opening with dirt. Place the pad over the area at this time are replace the air conditioner. The subbase material will provide strength and structure so the pad and air conditioner can no longer sink. 

Cleaning the Evaporator Drain Pipe

As your air conditioner runs, the evaporator coils absorb the warm and humid air from your house. The air is replaced with cool and dry air that is then pumped into your home. Water is left behind on the coils after this occurs and it drips into a pan where a drain line moves this water out of the home. The drain line is usually a PVC pipe connected to the evaporator unit that sits inside your home. This pipe unfortunately comes into contact with warm air that sits around the compressor. The combination of heat and moisture can cause mold to build in the drain pipe, and clogs can even occur because of this. The result is an evaporator that can fill with water.

The Cleaning Process

To prevent drainage issues, make sure to clean out the air conditioner drain pipe at least once in the middle of the summer. Simple compression fittings often connect the PVC parts, and you can twist the fitting connected to the air conditioner to remove the pipe. Remove any fittings you see between drainage sections too.

If you can remove some of the piping, then use hot water from your kitchen or bathroom faucet to flush out the pipe to remove any mold. If sections of pipe cannot be removed from the drain line, then use a wet/dry vacuum to remove debris. Set the hose of the vacuum directly against the end of the drain line and allow it to suck out mold. Do this on both ends of the pipe to get rid of as much mildew as possible. Replace the compression fittings when you are done. For more information, look at sites like

About Me
It's More Important Than You Think

I used to routinely get calls from HVAC contractors in my area offering annual maintenance contracts. As soon they would identify themselves, I would quickly say no thank you and hang up. After all, my heating and cooling system was working fine. Why would I spend money on services I clearly didn't need? Boy was I wrong! A few years ago, my AC unit suddenly stopped working. I called my HVAC contractor to have it repaired and assumed that my warranty would pick up the bill. That was until I learned my warranty was voided due to a lack of maintenance. Out of nowhere, my decision to ignore those maintenance calls was about to cost me more than a $1,000. I know there are others out there like me. It is my hope that this site will provide them with the knowledge they need to avoid the mistakes I made.