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5 things for visual AC unit inspections

There are certain parts of homeownership and maintenance that are more intuitive than others. For instance, homeowners who have never had a wood-burning fireplace and chimney before may not know how to properly operate a flue, or check for creosote build-up. For other homeowners, they may know that a home comes with air conditioning, but they may have never taken a thorough look at the outdoor A/C unit attached to their home supplying the cold air. 

Approaching this unit, and A/C in general, can be daunting, but there are some important visual inspections that homeowners can perform to help maintain the health of their systems. Keep an eye on these 5 things when doing a visual inspection of a home’s A/C unit to help the unit stay up and running.

1. Check on the Area Surrounding the Outdoor A/C Unit

To best ensure your unit can perform as it’s supposed to, make sure it has a clearance of 1–2 ft. on all sides. It’s also a good idea to check the unit’s foundation for cracks and to make sure that it is still on level ground. The cracks in the foundation can be patched if they’re not too deep, but for deeper, structural cracks, it may be necessary to consult a professional and have the foundation re-poured. 

2. Clear the A/C Unit of Debris

Physically remove any branches, twigs, leaves, trash, or other outdoor debris that has become caught in the top or sides of the unit. These pieces can clog or damage the unit, and prevent proper airflow, causing the unit to strain while it’s trying to run. Be sure to wear gloves for protection from thorns or sharp objects.

3. Clear the Condensate Drain

While checking on the A/C unit, also take the time to check out the condensate drain on the air handler. Once a year, pour a cup of bleach (diluted with water) down the air condensate drain pipe to clear out the pipe and reduce the likelihood of mold and algae buildup. 

4. Replace the Filters Regularly

By far the easiest tip on this list, regularly check and replace the air filters. While the recommended time to change the filter is every 3 months, it’s important that the filters are checked monthly to make sure it’s not overly clogged, dusty, or damaged. Clogged and dusty filters will quickly clog up the A/C unit itself, causing it to work harder than necessary.

5. Clean the Coil Systems

In the A/C unit, there is a coil system that keeps the unit running. It’s important to check these systems to ensure that they are clean and free of leaks. An indication that there is a potential blockage in the coils is if the A/C unit is running harder than it should be, or if the unit doesn’t turn on. If homeowners don’t feel comfortable tackling the coil cleaning themselves, it is best left to a professional, as damaging the coils can be a somewhat costly repair.

In addition to these 5 A/C maintenance tips, it’s very important that your HVAC system receives an annual maintenance inspection. This will help uncover any potential issues before they become full-blown problems, as well as, help keep your HVAC system running at peak efficiency. If you have yet to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance visit, or if you have questions about tackling any of the HVAC maintenance tips, reach out to the trained professionals at Duane Blanton Family Home Services. Over the phone or online, the technicians of Duane Blanton will be able to help sort out any and all of your HVAC needs. Give them a call today at (815) 781-2567, or schedule online through their online scheduling portal.


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