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Whether you’re a snowbird returning for the winter, or you live here in Port Charlotte, North Port, Punta Gorda, or Englewood,  year-round, your air conditioner gets a good workout. It cools your home and removes excess humidity, making life much more pleasant here in Florida.

Like any other hard-working appliance, your Port Charlotte AC needs routine maintenance.

Today on the blog, we’re talking about the differences between air conditioner cleaning and annual maintenance. Both can help Port Charlotte homeowners avoid breakdowns and costly repairs.

Take a minute and read through our short guide to Port Charlotte AC maintenance and cleaning. You’ll be glad you did—especially on those hot Florida days and balmy Florida nights.

A Well Maintained Port Charlotte AC Lasts Longer

If you were to ask the average homeowner what appliance in their home gets the most use, most would say it’s the air conditioner. If you ask the same group which appliance they couldn’t live without, you’d get the same answer.

With year-round heat and humidity, you do want to ensure your system continues keeping your home cool. What’s the best way to do that?

A combination of cleaning and maintenance is the only way to keep your AC in excellent working order.

Without regular cleaning, dust and debris build up in the unit, which hurts your AC’s cooling ability—especially on days when Florida experiences scorching heat and high humidity. A dirty AC filter and unit also compromise energy efficiency.

A well-maintained HVAC system gets a thorough cleaning as soon as you come home for the winter. If you’re a permanent resident here in North Port, your system also needs care. We’ll go over timeframes later in the post.

Is Port Charlotte AC Cleaning a DIY Job?

Homeowners can take care of several AC cleaning tasks, and you don’t need professional training. If you can spend about half a day and have the right tools, we say, go for it!

Start by turning off power to your unit, including power at the breaker box. Then you’ll break your cleaning tasks into two parts—outside and inside.

Outside

If your outside unit, or condenser, is at ground level, go ahead and clean it. If it’s on the roof, let your Port Charlotte HVAC technician check it when they come for routine maintenance. Most of what you’ll do outside involves clearing debris from around the outside of the condenser.

If you’re comfortable, you can also remove the fan grate and vacuum debris from the inside of the unit with a shop vac. Some homeowners don’t mind spraying the fins with a garden hose, but you do need to take care when cleaning fins since they’re thin and you can easily damage them.

You may notice the condenser leaning. It’s okay—soil sometimes settles and the condenser pad gets off-balance. If you have a level and shims, you can bring it back to the right position.

Inside

One of the easiest cleaning tasks you can do yourself is to change your air filter. Cleaning the evaporator coils and your Port Charlotte AC drainage lines is a bit more involved, but you can still do it with the right tools. If you don’t feel comfortable getting that involved with the mechanicals, let your heating and cooling company take care of this part of your cleaning.

Once you’ve finished, go ahead and power the AC back up. Let it run through a cooling cycle and make sure everything works.

Maintenance Is More Involved than Cleaning

While all Port Charlotte AC maintenance technicians will inspect and clean your air conditioner, that’s not considered full maintenance.

Professional cleaning includes some of the DIY tasks we discussed earlier but it’s a more thorough cleaning. For example, your technician should clean the evaporator coils air handler, and drainage line on the inside unit. On the outside, they should clean the compressor and condenser.

When you schedule routine maintenance, your Port Charlotte AC technician will inspect and service your AC. They’ll also perform cleaning if it’s part of the maintenance package.

When your tech inspects your system, they look for signs of current problems. They look over the belts, test voltage, and inspect the AC drainage lines. They’ll also inspect vents and ductwork.

Another part of routine maintenance is a voltage test and a test of your thermostat. They’ll inspect the blower motor and make sure it’s not drawing too many amps. Finally, the technician will test refrigerant levels and let your system go through a complete cooling cycle.

Avoid Costly Repairs

While not every AC repair issue is avoidable, you can save money by making sure you don’t forget routine maintenance. Common problems that lead to repairs include:

  • Clogged drainage line
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Broken compressor fan
  • Frozen condenser coils

You may also need repairs for breakers or fuses, capacitors, and contractors. During your routine Port Charlotte maintenance service, your technician should make note of and repair any worn parts. It’s one way you can avoid major damage to the system and even costlier repairs.

How Often Should You Have Maintenance?

With all this talk about cleaning, maintenance, and repairs, you’re wondering how often you should schedule maintenance, right? Most Port Charlotte air conditioning companies suggest a minimum of one maintenance appointment each year.

If you’re a snowbird and don’t use your AC year-round, you may only need one maintenance appointment.

For year-round residents, check with your Port Charlotte HVAC technician when they come out for your next inspection and cleaning. Ask for their recommendations about the frequency of your routine service visits.

Need to Schedule Port Charlotte Air Conditioner Cleaning?

We hope we’ve cleared up any confusion over cleaning vs. maintenance. Both are essential to keep your Port Charlotte AC running smoothly and your home cool. Not taking care of either one could mean you’ll need to make unnecessary repairs.

If you’re returning to your Florida home for the winter, contact us today and we’ll get you on the schedule for air conditioner cleaning and maintenance.