Change the filter (duh, every 3 to 5 months is fine)
Check the air split, return vs. supply. It should be a 20 degree difference. ex. 80 degrees at the filter, 60 at the register. You will be off by a few depending upon where you
are in the house relative to the air handler.
Check that the condensate drain is dripping freely and the backup is dry. If your horizontally mounted air handler is in the attic, go up and take a look. The drip pan should be
dry (and no rust in it). The pvc outlet somewhere around the outside of your house should be dripping freely in the summer or high humidity times of the year. If your air handler is mounted
vertically in a closet or garage, you will not have a backup pan. The drain will run via gravity outdoors or into a small pump that will energize when water reaches a set level in it.
The water is then pumped through a line outdoors. You will know you have a problem here when you change the filter and notice a rust stain on it or it may be wet itself.
A backed up condensate line is a minor plumbing problem and can be DIY'ed very easily. Simply use a shop-vac at the outdoor pvc drain spot and suck through the obstruction.
Usually the obstruction is in the p-trap. You may have to cut the pvc line with a hacksaw and clean the trap then simply reglue the pvc together. Simple and you saved and easy
Clean the outdoor coil. Pull power to the unit at the disconnect (shotgun fuses or pull fuse). Spray (no pressure washer) between the fan blades to the outside. Be careful
not to bend the fins. Re-establish power to the unit.
You can pull off the electrical cover to the outdoor unit if you so desire and inspect the contactor. Be sure to pull power to the unit before doing so. If the contactor is burned
or pitted it can be replaced easily ($25 part). Again, be sure power is pulled before opening the electrical case.
What about checking the freon level? This is a great question and it relates back to #2. If the unit is cooling properly in the summer when there is a 'load' on the unit. I
am in the camp of not believing in hooking up manifold gauges to the unit. My thought is many techs are careless in not using proper procedures in purging their hoses or use the same gauge
set with multiple refrigerants and thus will probably do more harm than good. That is just me. If you are getting the 20 split in the home than I would leave it be.
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