Air conditioner maintenance tips

Air conditioning is a blessing when the summer heat is stifling. It's easy to save money on repairs and avoid breakdowns when you know how to maintain your air conditioning. Here are some simple tips to help keep you cool and comfortable.

Would you like your air conditioning unit to work well past the manufacturer’s guaranteed lifespan? Prefer to see your HVAC contractor for routine maintenance only? Well, you can keep your cool if you follow some tips on how to maintain your air conditioning yourself.

Be kind to your air conditioner from day one

There are some very simple things you can do immediately that will extend the life of your air conditioner, and ultimately increase your comfort, household energy efficiency and savings on repairs.

  • Start with installation. Place the outside air conditioning unit out of the sun. It will work less and keep you more comfortable.
  • Place the unit on a clean and stable concrete slab with good drainage. Make sure the entire outdoor unit is level north to south and east to west. A dry, level air conditioner is less likely to rust or wear out sooner than it has to.

Have you moved into a new house with an air conditioner set up already?

  • Check it with a level. If you find it’s off kilter even a bit, use wood shims to perfectly balance it.
  • Repair or replace the concrete pad if it is deteriorating or sits in water when it rains.

How to maintain your air conditioning and heating year round

  • Keep your air conditioning circulating clean air.
  • Change your indoor filters often and keep vents clear and clean.

When you keep them clean your air conditioning and furnace won’t work so hard. You’ll also appreciate the fresher air.

Check your system regularly

Ask a handy friend to help you clean and check your air condition on a rain-free Saturday afternoon. Are you a confident do-it-yourselfer? You can find clear, step-by-step instructions for routine air conditioning maintenance on reliable home-repair websites.

The whole purpose of knowing how to maintain your air conditioning is to keep it clean and running smoothly. Basically, what you need to do is:

  • Clean dirt, leaves and sticks off the condenser coils.
  • Inspect condenser coil fins and fan for damage.
  • Lubricate the fan bearings.

If you already have a workshop in your garage or basement, you probably don’t need any extra tools. You might run into some bent fins on your condenser coils. (With a coil fin tool you can straighten them yourself.) Otherwise, all the tools you need are probably at hand, such as screwdrivers, soft brushes, shop vacuum and general-purpose oil.

Put safety first

Before you brush, vacuum or oil anything on your outdoor air conditioning unit, turn off your thermostat indoors. Next, shut off the power to the unit at your main electrical panel. The last precaution, turn off the power at the electrical disconnect switch near the condensing unit. When you’re done, turn everything back on – just in the reverse order.

Want to make sure everything’s all right with no surprise breakdowns? Schedule regular maintenance with your cooling and heating contractor: once for your air conditioner in the spring and once for your furnace in the fall.

Air conditioner maintenance tips
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