Your evaporative air conditioner can keep you cool through summer if it is properly maintained. It's a good idea to plan for a midseason check-up just to ensure no troubles are brewing. By performing a quick set of normal maintenance and inspection routines, you can catch potential problems early so you don't end up with a surprise repair need on the hottest day of the year.
Tip #1: Check water levels
Evaporative units have a water tray underneath them, which is what pulls up the water into the pads to provide the cool air. Check the water level in the tray to make sure it is filling properly. The level should be about an inch beneath the top edge of the tray, which will put the water level below the outlet for the overflow pipe. If the water level is too high, water will constantly leak out of the unit through the overflow, which could eventually cause water damage to the area around the unit. If the level is too low, your unit won't have enough moisture for proper cooling.
There is a float arm in the tray, similar to the one in a toilet tank. You can adjust the level that this arm sets at in the tray to control how much water is being fed into it. If the water level is off, adjust the arm until the float is setting at the desired water depth.
Tip #2: Make sure the float moves freely
An over- or under-filled tray can also be the result of a stuck or broken float arm. First, make sure the arm moves smoothly up and down after you have adjusted it. If it feels like it is sticking, the arm may need to be replaced. Even if it moves smoothly, watch its operation through one cycle of the evaporative unit. Does it drop down as the water level drops? If it is stuck in the up position, your unit may continue to fill even if it doesn't need any more water.
You can purchase new float arms and attach them yourself. The arm kits contain instructions for removing the attachment screw and installing the new device. Alternatively, contact an AC technician to replace the arm.
Tip #3: Inspect the pads and belts
The other two vital components on the unit are the pads and belts. With the unit powered off, check that the pads are evenly moist. This indicates that they are absorbing water well and allowing for even cooling. If the pads look like they are degrading or if they aren't absorbing moisture any longer, replace them with new felt evaporative cooling pads.
The belt is what ensures the motor is powering the blower, thus providing the cool air into your home. With the unit switched off, visually inspect the belt for any signs of wear and tear, such as stretching or fraying sections. Press firmly on the belt to make sure it has sufficient tension – slack can indicate a worn out or poorly adjusted belt. You can replace the belt on your own or bring in a tech to make the replacement for you if you notice issues with the belt.
Air conditioning units are an important appliance, so don't hesitate to call a professional to take care of any air conditioning repairs that you may be in need of.Share