How to Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit
When to service your home’s air conditioning system in Las Vegas?
Actually, January and February are excellent months to service your home’s air conditioning system. Here are 5 good reasons:
- Hot Temperatures Can Occur as Early as February in Las Vegas: Las Vegans know that even as early as February the outdoor temperatures can begin to rise creating some discomfort in your home, leading you to considering firing up your air conditioning unit. Definitely before the end of March you will have a few days where you feel the need to turn on your air conditioning unit.
- Experience the First Hot Day in Comfort: By the time that first hot day arrives, and you turn on your home’s air conditioning unit, you really want it to work! Now, let’s imagine this is the first time you discover something is NOT working. You’re going to have to live with an overly hot, uncomfortable home while you call for service.
- Schedule Service BEFORE the High-Demand Season: Note that by March, when you call for air conditioning service, you’re now calling at one of the highest demand times of the year for scheduling professional air conditioning service. Mastermind Mechanical will be there to help you, but had you scheduled the service call in January or February, you’d be enjoying a comfortably cool home already.
- You May Avoid an Emergency Service Call: By performing the basic DIY maintenance described in this article and in the companion article, “How to Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner”, you may be able to prevent the need to call in a professional all together.
- You May Proactively Discover an Issue That Can Be Fixed by a Non-Emergency Call: At the least, you may be able to proactively discover an issue that can be professionally fixed before the high-demand air conditioning service season arrives.
Air Condenser and Air Filter Maintenance
In our most recent article, we covered how to provide a basic cleaning to the outdoor unit of your home’s air conditioning system. Add to this our article on changing your home’s air filters, a monthly MUST DO throughout the year for both heating and air conditioning optimization.
Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Maintenance
In this article, we’re going to give you some quick tips for cleaning and preparing your indoor air conditioning unit ahead of the time Las Vegas outdoor temperatures begin to rise to uncomfortable levels. You can perform these basic DIY maintenance processes at any time of the year, and it’s a good idea to perform them quarterly for continued, uninterrupted air conditioning performance for your home creating greater comfort at a lower energy cost.
The outdoor part of your home’s air conditioning unit is called the Air Condenser. The indoor part of your home’s air conditioning unit is called the Evaporator. This article covers maintenance of the Evaporator. Once you’ve got the hang of it, this basic Evaporator maintenance can be done in as little as 30 minutes!
Where is the Home Air Conditioner Evaporator located?
Unlike the outdoor Air Condenser unit which can be discovered simply by walking around your home, the indoor Evaporator is in an unobvious location like your attic. The access point may be a small square covered opening in the ceiling of a bedroom closet, and if so, you will need a ladder to climb up through the opening to access the Evaporator. Why is the evaporator unit located in such a high place? Basic science: Cool air descends, so you want to generate the cool air in a high location to aid its descent into your home.
The Need for Proper Lighting
The first need you will experience is once you’re crawled through the opening into your attic is the need for light! Most attic spaces are equipped with lights, but on the chance that the bulb may be burned out, be sure to have a good flashlight.
Where to Stand and Where NOT to Stand in the Attic
Now before you begin to walk around up there in your attic, note that there are places you may step, and places to avoid stepping so that you do not fall through the ceiling and end up in the living room or kitchen! Stand ONLY on firm flooring or beams. Normally, there will be plywood flooring installed around the air conditioning and heating units in your attic. DO NOT tread on areas covered with insulation. They are likely not protected by a firm standing area but rather, have a thin sheet rock base which you would easily fall through!
Okay, you’re in the attic, with good lighting and standing on a solid foundation.
Where is the evaporator unit and what does it look like?
You’ll note that there is a blower fan to circulate the air, a series of copper coolant tubes, some duct work for circulation and an evaporator pipe which empties into a drain. Here’s how the system works: The fan pushes warm air over the surface of the coolant tubes where it is cooled. As it is cooled, condensation occurs, which is channeled out through the condensation drain tube. The cooled air then circulates through your home, keeping your home comfortable on hot days. There is also a shut-off switch.
Turn Off the Power
Turn off the power to the evaporator unit before performing any maintenance. The best location is your home’s main electrical circuit board. There should be a switch that is clearly labeled.
Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit Parts That You Can Most Easily Service:
The Drain Tube:
The condensation drain tube is plastic. Gently pull it off and run a 1:16 bleach/water solution through the tube to clear out any algae growth which if untreated could eventually block the tube causing the condensation water from the evaporator to find another exit, potentially onto that sheet rock ceiling we mentioned above destroying the ceiling of one or more of the rooms of your home. You easily prevent this catastrophe by keeping that condensation tube clean!
The Drain Port:
The upper end of the drain tube is connected to the evaporator unit by a drain port. Clean the drain port with a pipe cleaner before reconnecting the drain tube.
Once you’ve flushed out the condensation tube and cleaned the drain port, replace the condensation tube in the exact position it was originally.
Note: If the condensation tube or drain port have become too rigid and cannot be removed you may need to replace them. We suggest having a professional perform this. Contact Mastermind Mechanical to perform annual maintenance of your air condenser and evaporator units and replace any parts that need replacing.
The Blower and Filter:
Vacuum out the blower and the fins which will likely be inside a metal duct downstream from the blower. Change the filter.
You’ve Successfully Performed Basic Maintenance on Your Home’s Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit
Congratulations! You’ve successfully performed basic maintenance of your home’s air conditioning evaporator unit. Along the way, if you encounter any difficulty performing maintenance to any parts, never try to force things to open. When you encounter difficulty, it’s best to contact Mastermind Mechanical for professional servicing. However, you’re likely to be successful and not encounter difficulty with the basic maintenance we’ve described in this article.
Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit Maintenance Frequency
By performing this basic maintenance 4 times per year: Winter, Spring, Mid-Summer and Fall you may avoid an emergency breakdown on a hot Summer day. In addition, a clean unit operates more efficiently cooling your home and keeping you comfortable at a lower energy cost.