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How to Maintain Your Window Air Conditioner
A few minutes on the weather channel and you’ll hear no less than three meteorologists tell you that “this year is the hottest summer on record,” which means you’ll want to know how to fix a broken air conditioner if yours is in need of a tune-up.
Room <a title="Air Conditioners" href="http://www.atgstores.com/air-conditioners_1420.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">air conditioners</a> are easy to maintain DIY-style in that there are some things you can fix and some things you can’t, and the line between the two is very bright. So, let’s take a look at what you should check before calling a professional.
(NOTE: Always make sure you unplug an AC unit before you go poking around in it.)
<strong>Check your air conditioner power.</strong>
Does it work? Will it come on? If so, that’s a good start. If not, check the power cord for damage and check the wall socket by plugging something else in and trying to turn that on. You can also check the breaker and if your unit keeps blowing fuses you should switch it to another circuit.
If none of this works and you know you’re getting power to the unit, try checking the selector switch. If you notice burnt insulation around the terminals that means you probably need a new switch.
<strong>Check/Clean your air conditioner filter. </strong>
Dirt is your AC unit’s worst enemy and a clean filter will optimize performance if you notice the unit isn’t cooling as it should. Replace the filter when you begin using the unit for the season and every month thereafter, especially if you live in a dusty environment.
<strong>Check/Clean your air conditioner coils.</strong>
The air conditioner coils are the bristly thingies (“fins”) inside the unit. Depending on how they’re arranged, you can clean them with a vacuum by sucking out the dirt or blowing it out with canned air. You may also want to straighten the fins with a fin comb, which you can buy online or at a hardware store.
If they’re really dirty, you may want to spritz them with water before combing them clean.
<strong>Check/Replace the air conditioner thermostat.</strong>
If you AC unit switches on and runs, but doesn’t produce cold air, you may have a busted thermostat. To find out, gently remove the thermostat (be mindful of the sensor bulb) and test the leads with a voltmeter. A reading of zero is good; anything else and you need a new thermostat.
<strong>Check the air conditioner fan.</strong>
You can’t do much with the fan besides clean the blades and make sure it’s well-oiled. If it doesn’t spin, that’s a clear sign of a motor problem and will likely require professional assistance – or a new AC unit.
<strong>Check for water leaks.</strong>
Drain ports provide a way for condensed moisture to drain out of your air conditioner and they may become clogged with dirt. This can cause leaking, which you can fix by cleaning out the ports with a straight piece of wire (try a coat hanger if nothing else is available).
We hope these AC maintenance tips help keep you cool through the hot summer months!