You want to know your air conditioner will be there for you and your family during the hottest months of the year. To call a professional for repairs or to have a new unit installed can be prohibitively expensive. Even if certain unhandled maintenance issues don’t break an AC unit completely, they’ll make it operate less efficiently, which will drive up your electric bill. The following air conditioning maintenance tips will help you extend the life of your unit and dramatically reduce the chance that you’ll need to call a professional to fix a major problem with it.

Make Sure Your Outside Unit Is Clear of Obstructions

According to TNT Air Conditioning & Heating service, Your central air conditioning system will typically have indoor and outdoor components. The outdoor part contains the condenser coil, which is important to the proper functioning of your air conditioner. There will usually be panels, with slits for airflow, covering the coil on all sides of this condenser unit. These can get clogged up with leaves, grass, dust, and any other airborne particles. Also, if it’s near bushes or other landscaping, their leaves and branches can poke through these slits that need to be clear for your air conditioner to work right. After you’ve assured the condenser unit is clear of obstructions, you’ll want to move onto the next step.

Clean the Condenser Coil

You need to make sure the power is off to your air conditioning unit before doing this. The best way to ensure it doesn’t turn on while you’re cleaning the coil is to make sure its circuit breaker is off. You can simply use a regular hose to clean it. Too much pressure may damage the fins that vent the heat, so don’t use a power washer or a hose with too much pressure. Even if it’s possible to spray through the slits in the panel covers, you should remove the panels first, so you can see how dirty they are and how clean you are getting them as you spray. Wash all around the outside of your condenser unit to be thorough.

Straighten Coil Fins

There needs to be proper airflow through the condenser unit for it to function with optimal efficiency. Beyond the aforementioned obstructions to be removed or dirt and debris to be hosed off, you also need to make sure the fins are not bent. You can use a stiff bristle wire brush to straighten your compressor unit’s coil fins by running them up and down over the bent fins.

Check the Wiring

As with cleaning your condenser coil, you’ll want to make sure you have the power completely off to the condenser unit before performing this maintenance step. You should see a thick electrical cable running to the unit from where it plugs in. Removing the cover over the area where this cable leads should reveal many of the wires for you to look at them. Look for any broken or disconnected wires or for any bare wires missing insulation. Be careful to only look while doing this. The capacitor has stored voltage, so you don’t want to touch the prongs on it regardless of the power being off.

Change the Air Filter

Up to now, we’ve been focused on maintenance for the condenser unit outside of your house. Here is something that is basic upkeep for any central air conditioning and heating system as well. You want to change the air filter regularly. The exact time frame for “regularly” can vary somewhat. Certainly, if it’s in the middle of the summer and you’re running the unit practically every day, don’t let it go more than two months before changing it.

Whether you replace or simply clean, it will also depend on what type of air filter you have. Cheap air filters will simply be replaced. However, if you have an allergy or asthma sufferers in your home and have invested in a more expensive filter, you will be able to clean it a few times before replacing it. Most manufacturers will say how long such a filter will last before finally being discarded.

One important consideration with AC or furnace filters is that they will be directional. This means that the filter will have an arrow printed on the side, and you’ll need to make sure this arrow is pointed toward the furnace or facing into the intake vent if that’s where your filter is located.

Helping You Save Money

We hope the above tips will help you avoid costly repairs or replacements when it comes to your HVAC equipment. A working air conditioner is definitely no laughing matter when the hot summer weather arrives. This becomes all the more true if you have family members who are elderly or have health issues and may, therefore, be particularly vulnerable to elevated temperatures.

This is why, in conclusion, a final maintenance guide tip is to turn on and check your AC system before the hot weather hits. If you know it’s going to be 90 degrees come June, then crank up your air conditioner in April while it’s still temperate outside just to make sure it’s functioning properly. If it’s not, then you’ll have plenty of time to price shop on air conditioner repair services.