I think it was Einstein who once said, “a clean unit is a happy unit.” Well maybe it wasn’t him, but it is certainly true. Although there are many technical deficiencies a contractor will look for during a Preventive Maintenance Inspection, one primary objective is to keep your HVAC unit clean.
There are three main areas of focus when it comes to HVAC bath time.
- Air Filters – This is the first line of defense for any HVAC system and not all filters are created equal. A good filter will have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, of 8 which means it will catch stuff like mold spores, hair spray and pudding dust (not sure why that one makes the list but I like it!). Filters should be replaced regularly and in most cases can be easily done yourself.
- Drain Pan and Evaporator Coil – Condensation is continually dripping off your A/C unit’s evaporator coil. This water collects in the drain pan and runs off through a drain line. And because it is always wet, it needs to be cleaned and cleared of any gunk and debris. Then add a few pan treatment tablets for that minty fresh feeling!
- Condenser Coil – When you put your hand in the air that blows from the top of the outdoor condensing unit it will feel warm. This is the moment you have been waiting for. The heat energy that was inside your home has been scientifically transferred into the refrigerant pipes and brought outside to be released back into the wild. If that coil is blocked with dirt, bark mulch, or shrubbery then the heat stays trapped and your unit is back to working harder and longer with extra wear a tear to boot.
Proper HVAC hygiene is just part of the equation. But it is a fundamental. If left alone in a pristine laboratory environment, an A/C unit would run forever. But a home or office is not a lab and is usually not pristine. But along with routine technical evaluations to test for proper operation, signs of wear and other warning signs, a clean unit certainly has the best shot of staying a happy unit.