Reminder: Time for Air Conditioner Drain Pipe Maintenance & Filter Changes

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Spring is nearly upon us and soon it will be time to turn the air conditioning on once again. Having an air conditioner that runs effectively and efficiently is a beautiful thing, especially on those hot days when temperatures soar near to the triple digits, and in some places even exceed them. In order to have a reliable air conditioning unit, there are a couple of steps you should take now to prepare it for a return to the hard working days of summer.

Air filters are something that should be changed on a regular basis all year round, but if you have been neglecting this task, now is a good time to change that. Having a dirty air filter reduces the performance of your unit, making it have to work harder to get the job done. The unit working harder means running longer to achieve the same household temperatures, which takes a toll on your energy bill. Replacing you air filter when it gets dirty is the obvious solution, but no one wants to check on it and monitor its state of cleanliness so it is easier to work off of a general guideline. For the average family home, changing filters every 60 days is usually a good timeframe. However, if you add pets or people with severe allergies to the equation, filters will need to be changed more often, to the tune of 30-45 days instead.

Another important task to tackle is your air conditioner drain pipe. I hate to admit it, but I never knew this to exist until I had a problem with one. While living in an apartment, I came home to a soaking wet floor. Baffled, all I could do was track the water to the source, which led to the interior air conditioner unit. With maintenance on speed dial, the issue was resolved and I learned a lot that day. I also learned a lot as it continued to happen, which was not much fun at all.

First of all, air conditioner drain pipes need to be above ground. The reason mine backed up constantly in the apartment was because it was below a layer of dirt and mulch which created impaction and prevented it from draining properly. Second of all, air conditioner drain pipes need to be clean. Since they are an environment that is frequently moist, it is possible for mold and mildew to grow inside. When that growth is allowed to run wild and uninhibited, you wind up with a clog that can cause water to back up into your home. To prevent clogs, you can pour a cup of bleach into the access hole for the drain line. This will kill anything growing inside as it works its way through the pipe to the outside of your home.

If you already have a clog, however, bleach will do you no good as the clog will stop it from moving. The best way to remove a clog is with a wet-dry vac. Simply place the suction hose of the vacuum up to the drain pipe opening and secure the two together with a rag or towel. Holding them firmly, turn on the vacuum for a few seconds and suck the clog away.

With your air conditioner drain pipe now free of clog, go ahead and give it a quick bleach treatment to disrupt mildew and mold growth and you're good to go. Change filters as needed and keep your drain pipe clean and your air conditioner will be well on the way to keeping you cool this summer!

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