When Fall Comes, Here’s How To Service Your Air Conditioner

Ah, fall. It's the season when trees lose their leaves, people carve pumpkins, and you start preparing your home for a change in weather. In all of your home maintenance efforts this autumn, it is important not to overlook your air conditioner. It's about to sit unused for several months and preparing it properly can ensure it makes it all the way through to spring without damage.

So how do you service your air conditioner in preparation for fall? Take a look.

Put bleach in the condensate drain pump and condensate drain tube.

Your air conditioner produces condensation, and that condensation collects in a pan before being pumped over to a drain. In the summer, this constant moisture and warmth can let mold start growing. When fall arrives, you stop using your air conditioner, and water is not pumped through these parts constantly, mold growth can take off. Luckily, you can stop the mold in its tracks by pouring some bleach water into the condensate drain pan. A tablespoon of bleach in a cup of water is enough. Let the pump kick on to pump the bleach water through the condensate drain pipe to sanitize its interior, too.

Clean the fins.

The fins on your air conditioner's outdoor condensing unit tend to grab onto pieces of leaves, twigs, and other material over time. You don't want this debris to stay on the air conditioner all fall because with the fall weather and moisture, it will start rotting and molding, and it may also encourage your AC unit to rust. You can clean the fins on your air conditioner by just hosing it off vigorously. After hosing, use a fin comb to straighten any fins that look bent. (You can buy a fin comb at almost any hardware store; it's just a little plastic tool that you use to push the fins back into place.)

Put a cover on it.

Your air conditioner does not really need a cover until the snow starts falling, but there are advantages to putting it on earlier. For one, you won't have to pull leaves out of the unit next spring! If you just cleaned the fins on your AC unit, let them dry completely before putting the cover on; you don't want to trap moisture against the appliance.

If you do these three things, your air conditioner will be ready for fall. Talk to an air conditioning contractor for more helpful tips!


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