The Air Handler Is Out of Sight and Out of Mind, But Don’t Neglect Necessary Maintenance

air handler maintenance

It’s tempting, I know, but just because a component of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is out of sight doesn’t mean it should stay out of mind. In fact, if there’s a task that should become part of your regular to-do list, it’s air handler maintenance.

As the name implies, the air handler literally handles the cool and warm air that filters through your HVAC system. The handler is a large metal box consisting of several parts, including an air blower, coils, filtration equipment and condensate pans.

All of this will probably sound like a foreign language to you until you find your owner’s manual and identify the air handler and its components. Consider it time well spent: like any other electrical device, air handlers are subject to wear and tear and their #1 enemy is dirt and grime buildup. Regular air handler maintenance will help ensure that your HVAC system works smoothly and efficiently.

  • Clean the air blower blades, first by removing dust with a rag and then by spraying and wiping them with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water. This step alone could improve the air handler’s efficiency by 50 percent since heavy dirt buildup could severely slow the movement of the blades.
  • Use an alkaline detergent to clean the cooling coils. If they’re covered with stubborn scale deposits, ramp up your efforts by using an acid-based coil cleaner.
  • Change the filter, and err on the side of quality. Cheap filters can easily become deformed, greatly diminishing their efficiency.
  • Remove dirt and debris from the condensate pans to keep the drain lines free and unobstructed. This is where an unfortunate chain of events could develop: if the drain lines clog, the moisture could affect your ductwork and breed mold and other bacteria. Check that the condensate pans aren’t leaking. If they are, they may be patched with epoxy or relined.

At Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re happy to walk you through the process of air handler maintenance. Call us for a lesson or better yet –  call us to do it for you! – and you’ll forever face your to-do list with the utmost confidence.

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