An Arizona dust storm just passed through and left your property covered in a layer of desert dust. What do you do?
Sweep the patio furniture, skim the dirt and debris out of the swimming pool, and use a blower for other parts of the yard. Ah, but then what about everything that blew into your home’s air conditioning system? Dust from storms that blows into homes — even well-sealed homes — can damage your A/C system. This dust can also cause efficiency and reliability problems if it doesn’t get cleaned out.
An air conditioning unit has to work harder with the dirt and buildup that’s clogging the air flowing through the coils. It won’t usually quit outright, but it can cause some major problems. From clogged filters to overloaded coils, the summer heat combined with dust storms can cause air conditioning issues.
Homeowners in Arizona know that air conditioner maintenance is the key to surviving a long hot summer. Not only will a clean air conditioner provide you with clean air and top system performance throughout your home, but it can also save you up to 30% of operation costs and lengthen the lifetime of your A/C unit.
So, what are some great ways to maintain the basics of your A/C system? The following tips will help you get started. For bigger issues, get your air conditioning unit professionally cleaned and maintained for the summer dust storm season.
Keep Clean Air Filters
Filters work best when there is unrestricted airflow. When the filter is dirty and clogged, airflow is minimized and this is bad news, both for the unit itself and the home. Changing the filter is relatively easy and can be done on a monthly basis throughout the summer.
Generally, the frequency of changing filters depends on how often the system has been running and how dusty it is around your home. In the summer, you should change the filter every 30 days or so. Pleated filters will clean the air much better than flat filters and may last a little longer, because they have a larger surface area compared to the typical filters. Pleated filters may cost more, but they are able to capture more dust particles from the air.
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Clean Indoor Coils
Maintaining a clean A/C in Arizona also means you need to check the indoor coil (aka evaporator coil) every six months. This coil is located inside the cabinet of the heat pump or the air conditioner, and should be cleaned regularly to insure proper airflow across the coil. We recommend that you use a professional HVAC technician to handle this job, as extreme care must be taken when removing panels off the air conditioner to inspect the coil. If you decide to DIY this project, make sure to shut off the power to the system before removing any air conditioner unit panels.
Air that moves through the A/C coil is cooled and this can cause damp condensation on the coil. This can cause outside dust to stick on the coil, and possibly begin to harbor molds and other unpleasant elements inside the air system. Dirty coils reduce airflow into the equipment thus slowing the equipment’s performance all together.
The fan blades or the blower can also collect dust, especially after a dust storm. Having an air conditioner maintenance program during this time is a solid bet. You can call your local A/C firm to clean everything A/C related, and provide all-around maintenance on the air conditioner.
Keeping the coil and blower clean requires a technician because these parts need to be cleaned using special chemical solutions.
Outdoor Unit Should Always Have Straight Coils
The outdoor unit (aka condensing unit) needs a good airflow for optimum performance, and should be kept clean at all times. The condenser coils help in discharging hot air to the outside. These coils are usually out in the open and easily accessible. Always clean the coils after an Arizona dust storm.
Spraying outdoor coils with a fresh blast of hose water during the brutal summer months is recommended. The coils can also be cleaned regularly with a special chemical, but check this with your A/C technician.
Check to see if the fan blade fins are bent or damaged. If so, they should be straightened in order for the machine to function properly. Your air conditioner should be kept free of nearby tree branches, leaves, long grass and other obstructions that may hamper the airflow and cause equipment malfunction. Without proper room or air space outside, the cost of operating your air conditioner can get expensive.
Plan ahead and call your local Isley’s team out to your home or business for an inspection before the heat turns up. Get your filters, compressors, and coils checked by a professional before the 100-degree days of summer hit!