You survived the blazing heat of the summer and are thoroughly enjoying the temperate days and cool nights that autumn brings. You’re also happy to give your HVAC unit a rest, as it worked overtime in the relentless summer heat. However, before you throw a cover on it and put it out of your mind, consider having a professional maintenance tune-up before winter fully kicks in, even if your unit performed flawlessly all summer long. It will lower your bills, prevent costly repairs, spare you the discomfort of a breakdown and ensure your unit has a long, productive life.

If you decide to do the maintenance yourself, follow these simple but important steps:

Turn Off the Power
This seems like a no-brainer, but we want to reiterate it here so you do not get the shock of your life.

Remove Leaves from the Fan
Unscrew the fan cover from the top of your exterior HVAC unit and clean out all debris in the fan and underneath it in the unit. This usually consists of dead, dry leaves, which can clog your fan and unit and compromise its operation.

Clean and Straighten the Fins
The fins are the gaps, or gill-like designs, on the exterior sides of your HVAC unit. They can become clogged by dust, dirt and debris, which can prevent the free flow of air into and out of your unit, both of which are necessary for its optimum performance. In some cases, the fins can become turned or bent. In this case, use a butter knife to gently straighten them.

Clean Around the Unit
As a preventative measure, sweep and clean the grounds around the exterior of the unit to prevent any future clogging.

Clean the Evaporator Coil
Moving to the interior side of things, clean the evaporator coil using coil spray cleaner, available in home-improvement stores, to remove dust and grime. Then wipe the coil clean. Finally, dry the liquid that has fallen onto the drain pan and flush it out with a soap, water and bleach mixture. If it drains well, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, you’ll have to check and unclog the evaporator drain.

Change the Air Filter
Last but not least, change the air filter, an easy step that should be done twice a year.

You can now turn the power back on and make sure it is running smoothly. Then feel free to put it out of your mind. Your work is done.

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