Annual maintenance is strongly recommended, but don’t wait for a technician to visit and service your AC. Proper care will reduce the amount of wear and can avoid costly repairs. Your air conditioner will also run more smoothly and efficiently. Here are eight home AC maintenance tips you can follow throughout the year:
1. Change or Clean the Filter
This is one of the most important and simplest forms of home air conditioning maintenance. The air filter helps remove particles including, dust, irritants, and allergens. A dirty or clogged filter can lead to dusty air and make it harder for your AC to cool your home.
If you have a cleanable filter, use a hand vacuum and wipe any remaining debris with a microfiber cloth. The filter can be deep cleaned with warm water and vinegar and then air dried. Follow the operator’s manual for instructions on changing the filter in your model of AC.
And check the filter at least monthly during the cooling season (it should be changed/cleaned every one to three months or as needed).
2. Clean Off AC Vents and Registers
For any home AC, annual maintenance will keep it in good shape. But another way to maintain the system is to ensure vents and registers are clean. If they’re coated in dust, dirt, or debris, air will struggle to enter and exit the system, and the air that does will be contaminated. Reduced airflow also forces your AC to work harder and can shorten its lifespan.
To be sure vents and registers are clean, identify where dust and dirt are prone to accumulating, which is often at the top of the registers and the bottom of the vents. When cleaning an opening, brush from top to bottom and left to right. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining debris.
3. Clean the Outdoor Unit
First, turn off the power (at the main AC switch or the circuit breaker) and open the unit’s cover. Then look for leaves, twigs, and other foreign objects. Remove them by hand if possible, including anything that’s caught between the fins.
If you can, remove the fan assembly to reach deeper into the unit. Clean tight areas with a vacuum attachment. Also, make sure the outdoor unit is level, and there are at least two feet of clearance around it. Trim back any trees or plants if necessary and shade the unit from direct sunlight to reduce the load on the compressor.
4. Clean the Evaporator Coil
Cleaning the evaporator coil is also an important step in home AC maintenance.
It can become coated with debris and deposits, reducing efficiency and cooling performance. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose extension or wand, or use a commercial air cleaner, if necessary.
5. Insulate Ducts
If not insulated, ducts in unconditioned spaces like attics, basements, and crawl spaces can become inefficient. To prevent the loss of cooled air, insulate these ducts with spray foam, rigid foam, or batt insulation. Batt/rigid insulation should be sealed with foil tape.
6. Identify Leaks
If you notice reduced air quality, strange odors, temperature fluctuations, uneven cooling, or buzzing noises from the AC, an air leak may be present. Your next step is to find where the leak is. For a central AC, hold an incense stick near a duct connection. A leak will cause the smoke to blow in a particular direction. While a small leak can be sealed with foil tape, and larger gaps or tears can be sealed with mastic tape, call a professional if you suspect a larger-scale problem.
7. Maintain Airflow
Use ceiling fans to help move air around and cool your home more quickly. But running a fan, even a portable one, also helps reduce the load on the system. Leave interior doors open or slightly ajar as well. This can improve airflow throughout your home and keep your AC system in balance.
8. Schedule Home AC Annual Maintenance
Make sure to set up home AC annual maintenance with your local HVAC contractor. If you have a heating and cooling system, it should be serviced twice a year. A technician will inspect the system, test airflow, check electrical connections, and lubricate moving parts as well as perform a full tune-up. They can also spot issues and make minor repairs. Regular service prevents system breakdowns and premature failures while reducing long-term heating and cooling costs.
Call Hoover for Home Air Conditioning Maintenance
Whether it’s time to schedule annual home AC maintenance or you notice your AC not working as reliably or efficiently, our licensed technicians can help. Our services help reduce the frequency of repairs and can lower energy bills, improve indoor air quality, and extend the unit’s lifespan. Members of our VIP plan receive yearly AC inspections, priority service, and exclusion from our call-out fee. To schedule service or learn more, call 586-701-6127.