Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air condition) unit will not keep running without problems if you do not keep it maintained properly. Your HVAC unit consists of a heat pump or a furnace with AC. Both types have an interior blower and evaporator and a unit outside with a compressor and condenser coil. The information below applies to both a unit with furnace and AC in it and an HVAC unit with a heat pump. Keep reading to learn how you can keep your unit running smoothly.
Inspect the Drain Line
The drain line is a white PVC pipe that you will find outside near your HVAC unit protruding from your home. This job of the drain line is to remove condensation from the evaporator coil. Over time, the drain line can become dirty. If it is not cleaned, mold and algae will grow inside the drain line and cause a clog. If this happens, you will have a musty odor inside your home and have elevated humidity.
If your drain line is working properly, you will notice water dripping steadily out of the pipe outside. If you do not see water or it is dripping very slowly, then you likely have a clog. You will also see a greasy slime inside the pipe. Fortunately, you can try to clear out this clog yourself by sucking it out with a wet/dry vacuum.
Clean the HVAC Unit
Before you start cleaning, cut the power off for the HVAC unit. Look outside for a shut off box that should be located near the unit. Turn this switch off. Go inside and flip the breaker for your HVAC unit also.
Using either a screwdriver or a wrench, remove the fan cage from the exterior unit by removing the fasteners. Lift the fan cage away from the unit. Clean out any leaves and other debris from inside the unit using a wet/dry vacuum or by hand.
Use a garden hose to spray the fins inside the unit to remove built up dust and dirt. You can use the garden hose with a steady pressure but do not use a pressure washer as it will damage the fins.
If you are not able to clean the fins, purchase a cleaning spray at a home improvement store specifically made for HVAC units. Follow the instructions on how to use it. When you are finished put the fan grill back onto the unit making sure it is fastened securely.
Remove any built up leaves and other debris around the unit as these things can restrict air flow.
Even though you can do these things on your own you should still hire a HVAC technician, such as those found at Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division, to come to your home to maintain your unit regularly. A good time to do this is twice a year, before winter and then again before spring.