Prolong the Life of Your Air Conditioner with Proper Maintenance

Most of us rely on air conditioning to make summers bearable. For air conditioners to have maximum efficiency and long life, they should be maintained regularly. Regular maintenance doesn’t take long, is relatively inexpensive, and can prevent breakdowns during heat waves. In fact, there are some maintenance tasks you can do yourself, whether you have a window air conditioning unit or a central air conditioning system. However, if there are any DIY tasks you’re unsure of how to perform, or if you’re uncomfortable working with machinery, do the safe thing and contact a professional to take care of it.

DIY Window Unit Maintenance

One of the most important window unit AC maintenance tasks is keeping the filter clean. Unplug your window unit first. Use a putty knife to pop out the front grill of the unit, remove the filter (which is mesh or foam), and wash it in warm soapy water with a little bit of bleach to kill mold. Let it drip dry and then replace it, replace the grill, and plug the unit back in. While you’re waiting for the filter to dry, you can vacuum off the evaporator coils that are located underneath where the filter goes. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to do this.

Further Window Unit Maintenance Procedures

Consider calling an air conditioning professional to perform window AC maintenance tasks. Your technician should clean dirt and debris blocking the condenser, check the discharge air temperature to be sure it’s within the proper range, clean out the drain pan, and address any minor problems you bring up. Your maintenance technician should perform a thorough overall inspection of all your window AC unit components to ensure that everything is working properly. Schedule window unit AC maintenance before summer, and you’ll enjoy better cooling and perhaps even lower utility bills.

DIY Central Air Conditioner Maintenance

If you have a central air conditioning system, changing the filter regularly (every four to six weeks) is highly recommended. If you have pets or live with smokers, it may need changing more frequently. You simply open up the filter panel inside your house with a flat head screwdriver, remove the filter and either clean it (if you have a reusable filter) or replace it (if you have a disposable filter). Filters can be purchased in a range of sizes from any home improvement store, many mass merchandise retailers, or online.

Professional Central Air Conditioner Maintenance

Annual professional central AC maintenance should involve cleaning dirt, debris, and dead leaves from the condensing coils on your outside unit, inspecting condenser coil fins for damage, inspection of the fan for damage, and lubrication of fan bearings. Any central AC maintenance tasks involving refrigerants must be performed by licensed technicians due to strict environmental regulations about handling these materials. Other maintenance tasks may include inspection of belts, drain lines, and thermostat, a voltage check, and thorough cleaning of the condensing coils. Schedule an annual tune-up of your central AC unit, and it should last longer, have fewer breakdowns, and help keep your summer AC bills under control.