How To Clean A Trane Air Handler

Regularly cleaning your HVAC equipment is essential to its performance and the quality of the air you breathe in. So, if you want to clean your Trane air handler but don't know how, we got you covered. We searched the web for answers, and here is what we found.

To clean a Trane air handler, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Switch off the unit and cut off the power at the source.
  2. Detach the drain pipes from the air handler.
  3. Gently remove the air handler's coils and fan from their mountings.
  4. Clean up any dust and grime from the air handler housing with a shop vac.
  5. Use an antibacterial solution to clean the coils and fan.
  6. When the solution has turned the coils and fan white, remove the dirt with a garden hose.
  7. Clean the drain line.
  8. When all parts are cleaned, reassemble all the air handler's components.

Read on as we delve into why you need to clean your air handlers and what signs to look out for. We'll also cover Trane's air handler maintenance checklist, how to change air filters, tips to prolong the service life of your air handler, and more. 

Two air conditioner units on a concrete slab, How To Clean A Trane Air Handler

Why Do Air Handlers Need Cleaning?

Dust and dirt particles build up on the filter of your air handler as the unit circulates and filters the air in your home. Excessive accumulation compels the system to work longer to maintain your set temperature. Not only is the air quality harmed, but the lifespan of your HVAC system is jeopardized. 

Technician cleaning the air conditioner using a power sprayer

What Are The Signs That Your Air Handler Needs Cleaning?

You will know that your air handling unit needs cleaning when you observe these signs:

  • Mold and mildew have grown on the external vents.
  • Dust and dirt have accumulated on the filter.
  • When it produces hot air instead of cold air. 
  • The unit is making weird noises.
  • It has been over a year since it was cleaned.
  • The unit gives off an unpleasant odor.

Air Handler Maintenance Checklists

According to Trane, to ensure that your air handling unit is in shape and functions flawlessly, here are some maintenance checklists your HVAC technician should perform during service checkups:

  • Make sure the fan blades are clean and free of dust.
  • Make sure there are no cracks or excessive wear on any moving parts.
  • Check the fan's RPM to ensure it is within the design parameters.
  • Tighten the set screws on the fan shaft that hold the bearing collar in place.
  • Clean the grime from the dampers.
  • Check that the damper actuators and linkages are working and aligned.
  • Ensure that all mechanical connections and dampers are greased appropriately.
  • Clean the unit's coils.
  • Inspect all refrigerant lines, coils, valves, and fittings for leaks.
  • Observe the condensation pans and drains for rust.
  • Look for evidence of wear and cracks on all belts.
  • Align rigid couplings properly.
  • Drain and dry all cooling coils.
  • Set the freeze stat to the right temperature and ensure it's working correctly.
  • Vacuum the entire system thoroughly.

Aside from that, there are some things you need to look out for to ensure that your unit is working properly, such as: 

  • Keep an ear out for unusual noises or vibrations.
  • Keep an eye out for scents in the air. Musty odors may suggest mold growth, but burning odors may indicate an electrical problem with the motors.
  • If you notice any unexpected noises, notify your technician.

Common Problems You Might Experience And What To Do With Them

Trane air conditioner

Here are some simple and common problems your air handling unit might encounter, their possible causes, and how to troubleshoot them: 

  • Not enough heating or cooling
  • Failure to function
  • Weird noises

Not Enough Heating Or Cooling

If your unit is experiencing this problem, then it might be because any or all of these have occurred: 

  • Air filters are dirty
  • Air circulation is not good
  • There is a blockage on the outdoor coil
  • Blower motor malfunction

To solve these problems, you can: 

  • Replace or clean the air filters
  • Examine the supply registers and return grills for obstructions
  • Remove any leaves or other debris in your outdoor coil

Failure To Function

If your air handler fails to operate, here are the possible causes: 

  • No power
  • The circuit breaker is open or blown fuses
  • Incorrect thermostat setting

You can try these solutions to solve these problems: 

  • Check that the main switch is turned on
  • Reset the circuit breaker or replace any blown fuses
  • Check and adjust the thermostat setting

Weird Noises

There is nothing much you can do when it comes to this problem. Immediately notify your HVAC technician if you observe any unusual noises coming out from your air handler. 

Blower Motor Malfunction

Excessive dust might accumulate and cause the blower motor to burn out. This is frequently due to an old filter that hasn't been replaced. 

If your blower motor fails, call your HVAC technician to replace it.

Why Is Drain Cleaning Included In Air Handler Cleaning? 

When arranging your preventative maintenance tune-up, make sure your HVAC technician inspects your condensate drain. Over time, sludge generated from dirt, dust, and other particles migrating from condensation on your coils into your drain pan might plug the drain.

For more detailed steps on cleaning your drain line, you can check this article from this site: "How To Drain A Trane AC Unit."

How To Clean Air Filters?

Old air conditioner filter in need of replacement

Air filters play a considerable role in ensuring that the quality of air circulation in your home is safe for you. Nowadays, most air filters available in the market are washable, depending on your need. 

To clean your air filter, you must first ensure there is no power running to your air handler. Then, remove the filter from the unit. After that, take the dirty filters outside and clean them with a brush and rinse them. 

Wash the filters with a solution of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid if the frame appears unclean or feels sticky. Remove any soapy residue by rinsing thoroughly.

After washing, let the filters dry. Before reinstalling the filter in any device, make sure it is thoroughly dry using a soft cloth. And finally, put back the filters in place, and you can now turn on your air handler. 

Should You Replace Air Filters And How?

Old air conditioner filter in need of replacement

There are instances where you have to replace air filters simply because they're not designed to be reused. To do this, you must: 

  1. Find the air handler filter. It could be hidden below the bottom panel of your indoor unit, or it could be two filters.
  2. Remove the old filter.
  3. Insert the clean filter with the arrows pointing in the airflow direction. Always use the same size and type of air handler filter that came with it when replacing it.

You can check this article to understand whether to clean or replace air filters: "Can You Clean Home Air Filters Or Should You Replace Them?"

Tips To Prolong The Service Life Of Your Air Handling Unit

Trane air conditioner unit

Here are some tips to ensure that your air handler will last for a long time: 

  • Set the thermostat when you're heading out.
  • Regularly replace filters.
  • Regularly schedule service maintenance.

Set The Thermostat When You're Heading Out

When you're going out of town for a few days or the weather is mild, don't leave your system running unnecessarily.

In the summer, the recommended thermostat setting is at 85°F. While you can adjust the temperature down to 55°F in the winter.

You can check this article from this site to know how to reset a Trane thermostat: "How To Reset A Trane AC Thermostat."

Regularly Replace Filters

As mentioned, mold and debris can accumulate and obstruct the air passage. If the dirt and debris are not removed, they might stick to the fan blades and motor, producing more significant difficulties.

Regularly Schedule Service Maintenance

It is recommended to have your heating and cooling systems serviced before each season. Because your air handler runs all year, having it checked up once a year is a good idea.

Final Words

Two air conditioner units on a concrete slab

Cleaning an air handler is an easy task once you know how to. Although, it is still advisable to call for your HVAC technician to ensure that the cleaning process is done religiously. 

In addition, to make sure that the given service to your unit is done right, you can monitor with the help of the air handler maintenance checklist. 

Moreover, if you observe any malfunction or irregularities from your unit, notify your HAVC technician immediately. 

Before you go, you can check these articles if you're experiencing trouble with your Trance air conditioner: 

Trane Air Conditioner Not Turning On – What To Do?

Trane Air Conditioner Not Removing Humidity – What To Do?

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