Air Conditioner Maintenance

Get maintenance steps you can follow to ensure your air conditioner runs efficiently and minimize costly repair bills down the road.

Hi, I’m Paul Blake for with maintenance steps you can follow to ensure your air conditioner runs efficiently and minimize costly repair bills down the road.

(Step 1: Change or clean the AC filter)

The most important thing you can do is change or clean your air conditioner filter at least once every 3 months. Increase frequency if you live in a dusty area. A clean filter maximizes efficiency, energy savings, fresh air and the life for your AC unit.

To change the filter, simply remove the old filter from the main unit or the air return. Pay attention to how the old filter is oriented so you can insert its replacement correctly.

A washable filter can be cleaned with soap and water. Let it dry completely before you replace it. A disposable filter requires a new replacement. Reference the old filter to help you determine the correct size for your replacement. The wrong size decreases efficiency.

Next, be sure to clean the parts housing the filter using a damp cloth or vacuum. When you are ready to insert the fresh filter, start with one edge and work your way around. To correctly install pleated media filters, have the arrows on the sides point inward toward the duct. Replace the grate or cover to finish.

(Step 2: Check AC condenser unit)

The central air conditioning condenser sits outside and therefore can easily accumulate dirt and debris or suffer damage from weather and pests. Frequent checks keep your condenser effectively removing heat from your home.

Start by trimming the bushes and shrubs around the unit and clear out any leaves, twigs or debris while the AC power is off.

Now, examine the fan and the condenser hoses. Does the fan wobble, spin backwards or make irregular noises? Does the hose leak or look loosely connected? If so, schedule service with a qualified professional to get it repaired.

Finally, turn off the air conditioner and hose off the coils and metal fins surrounding the condenser. Straighten flattened fins with a flat-head screwdriver or fin comb.

(Step 3: Clear AC drain line)

Condensation drain lines must be cleared annually to help prevent mold growth and sludge backups that could result in flooding. You will also help your AC to run more efficiently.

Drain line openings are most often accessible near the main AC unit, and most pipes lead out of the house near the condenser. Find the access point, remove the cap and flush the drain using warm water funneled through the opening. Finish by adding a cup of bleach to help kill mold and algae. For stubborn buildup, use a wet/dry vac to suction from the end of the line outside.

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