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Air Conditioning Maintenance
Air conditioning systems exploit some interesting laws of physics and thermodynamics in order to make the inside of your home cooler than the outside. You don't have to be a physicist though in order to keep this complex system functioning optimally.
Most commonly air conditioning systems function at less that ideal levels due to part of the system being clogged. Dirty drain lines seem to be the most common culprit for sub-optimal performance. When your system's drain lines get clogged cooling capacity is reduced and in some cases the compressors cease to function entirely.
Every air conditioning system does more than just cool the air, it removes humidity from it. The moisture from the interior of the system goes into the cooling coil and then exits the system through the condenser's drain line. This drainage usually contains minerals and mildew and is the cause of clogs. To ensure proper operation of your air conditioner you should have it cleaned quarterly. You can clean it yourself with a commercial coil cleaner and wire brush. Spending a few minutes every four months will keep your system in top operating condition. In addition to regular cleaning there are a few steps that you can take to head off problems at the pass.
Changing the filter every month and before the first use can greatly increase the performance you receive. Many filters also have anti-microbial properties and can reduce problems with buildup of things like mold and mildew. These types of filters not only keep buildup out of your system but they keep dust from entering your home and keep pathogens out of your air. You can also spray a mild disinfectant into the filter intake while it's running to help clear any additional mold and mildew buildups. You should also check the fan blades to ensure that there's no mold or mildew deposits on it.
Another thing you can do to make sure things continue to run smoothly is to keep the motor properly lubricated. This usually amounts to adding a few drops of oil for electric motors into the oil ports yearly.
The temperature of your air ducts on the AC system should be 15-25 degrees cooler than other areas of your home. Check the supply duct with a thermometer. If the difference in temperature is too small check the filters, supply and drainage lines, circuit breakers and other components. If you can't repair the problem yourself or are hesitant to get inside the unit then feel free to take it to a professional for servicing.