I live in Phoenix and recently we had a massive dust storm and my question is what are the preventive maintenance steps after such a storm for an air conditioner. Besides the obvious steps like changing the in house filters. I have been told to get some compressed air and use it on the relay contacts for the compressor. Also to hose down the outside units. Are these necessary? What should I do?
Rich from Phoenix
I have been in the Tempe area when some of those dust storms roll in. They leave quite a mess in the aftermath,
Compressed air will work to a point to clean out some of the dust. But a good strong spray from a garden hose will do wonders in getting the dust out.
On the bottom of the units are drain holes, if you look carefully down though past the fan you should see them. Be sure that these are flushed out well to allow for good drainage and to help prevent rusting from standing water that may sit.
I doubt that the dust has got into the relay area, but if you believe it has and your comfortable in removing the panel to access that area air in that area will work well. Just no water. Be sure that you pull the power to the unit before attempting any removal of any panel on the system. 220 volts is nothing to fool around with. Be sure that the panel is on tight before you spray the system down with water.
Spraying the condensing unit down once a month is a good thing. Even if it does not look dirty. The biggest thing that shortens the life of an AC system is lack of air. This holds true with both the inside system as well as the outside one. Change filters on regular basis. Even if they do not look as though they need it.