When I moved into my first place, I couldn't believe how dirty everything was all the time. I found myself dusting and mopping continuously, only to deal with a fresh layer of grime later. After awhile, I realized that the problem was blowing straight out of my air ducts. My ventilation lines were so dirty that it was spreading grime through my house every single time the air clicked on. Fortunately, I called an HVAC contractor who was able to clean my vents to a gleaming shine. I know how big of a difference cleaning up your ventilation system can make, which is why I want to spread the word.
If you have a window-mounted air conditioning unit, then there's a good chance that it hasn't gotten much of a workout this past winter. But with spring nearly here, now is the perfect time to whip your A/C unit into shape. The following offers plenty of helpful tips you can use to ready your window-mounted A/C system for the warmer temperatures ahead.
Check for Critters First
If you stored your window-mounted A/C unit indoors for the winter, there's a good chance you've had it under wraps in your basement or attic. Before putting the unit back into service, the first thing you'll want to do is make sure it hasn't become home to any unwanted guests. You'll want to do this a few days before you're ready to reinstall your A/C unit so you'll have enough time to deal with any pests inside of the unit.
First, transport the A/C unit outdoors and remove the front cover. Next, grab a wet/dry shop vacuum with a soft brush attachment and use it to vacuum any and all pests you happen to encounter, along with any debris that accumulated during the unit's hibernation. If you think there are pests deep within the A/C unit, you can create your own homemade bait and leave it near the unit for a day or so. Afterwards, vacuum the unit to get rid of any remaining pests.
Spraying insecticide aerosols inside of the unit could result in sticky residue being left behind. Also, remnants of the insecticide spray could blow back into your indoor spaces once you start your A/C unit.
Check the Aluminum Fins for Signs of Damage
The thin aluminum fins on the condenser coil at the back of the window A/C unit are exceptionally easy to damage without realizing it, especially when you've manhandled the unit in preparation for winter storage. Bending the fins can actually block air from flowing through the blocked portions, resulting in poor cooling performance.
Simply take a look at the aluminum fins before reinstalling the A/C unit in your window. If you do see any bent fins, you can use a straightening comb to repair the damage. Any severe damage that can't be fixed with a straightening comb should be taken care of by a trained HVAC technician.
Have a Technician Check the Refrigerant Charge
Having too little refrigerant in your window-mounted A/C system could lead to the unit developing heavy amounts of frost and ice buildup during operation, which could lead to lowered cooling performance. Low refrigerant levels can also cause long-term damage to the compressor and other unit components. It's a good idea to make sure your A/C unit has the right amount of refrigerant before putting it back into service.
Why should you have a trained HVAC service technician check your unit's refrigerant charge? Not only does your technician have the proper tools needed to measure and add refrigerant, but working with the stuff can be a bit dangerous. A/C refrigerants are held within the system under high pressure and incorrect filling or measurement procedures could result in serious injury.
Don't Forget to Inspect the Air Filter
Last but not least, you'll want to inspect your A/C unit's air filter before returning the unit to service. The decreased airflow caused by a clogged air filter can lead to reduced cooling performance and higher utility bills. If necessary, replace the dirty air filter with a fresh air filter of the same type. If your unit uses a washable air filter, carefully wash it with mild dish detergent and allow it to air-dry before reinstalling it in the A/C unit.