3 Simple Maintenance Tasks To Protect Your Home's Air Conditioning System

Posted on: 15 January 2015


Several important maintenance tasks should be performed on your home's central air conditioning system each year to maximize its efficiency and life expectancy. While a professional tune-up and inspection are critical for proper maintenance, there are other things you can do to ensure your system performs at its peak throughout cooling season. The following three tips offer advice on how to properly maintain your air conditioning system each year.

Routinely Replace the Filter

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most important way to maintain proper air flow and efficiency of your home's air conditioning system is by routinely replacing or cleaning the air filter. As a matter of fact, replacing a dirty filter can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15 percent during cooling season. Some HVAC systems utilize filters that are designed to be cleaned and reused, while others require filters that must be replaced with new ones.

Obviously, if your air conditioner runs all the time, it needs more frequent filter changes than a system that runs less often. To determine how often the filter should be replaced, take a moment to inspect it after two weeks of use. If the filter is not dirty, check its condition again after a month of use. Eventually, you'll know how much time a clean filter should last before it needs to be replaced.

Regularly Clean the Condenser Unit

After completing these cleaning steps once, you'll know how to quickly clean the outdoor condenser unit of your air conditioning system within minutes. Regular cleanings help extend the unit's lifespan, maintain efficient performance and help you identify potential problems before they appear. You should aim to do this twice a year, in the spring and fall.

  1. Make sure the power is off before removing the protective metal covering on the unit.
  2. Using the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner, gently remove dust and dirt covering the fins of the condenser coils. Do this carefully so you don't bend any of the fragile aluminum fins.
  3. If you notice any bent fins, straighten them with a specially designed comb that can be found at many HVAC supply stores.
  4. Scoop up and remove all leaves, grass and debris around the coil to prevent air flow blockages.
  5. With a helper, unscrew the condenser unit's top grille and hold it open. Your helper will need to hold the grille as you clean the area beneath it to prevent unnecessary straining of electrical wires and connectors. Keep in mind it may be heavy because the fan and motor are probably attached to it.
  6. With the grille removed, spray around the entire perimeter of the coil with a water hose to wash away dirt.
  7. After thoroughly hosing it out, remove any larger pieces of debris that remain inside the bottom of the condenser unit.
  8. Replace the unit's top grille and outer cover before restoring power.

Maintain the Landscape around the Condenser Unit

To ensure proper air flow and minimize the amount of dirt and debris that get sucked inside your condenser unit, keep the landscape around it well-manicured. Grass, shrubs and other foliage surrounding the unit should always be trimmed back. To avoid blocked airflow, remember to promptly rake away dead leaves that accumulate near the condenser, too.

Although these maintenance chores take only a few minutes to perform, it's easy to put them off or forget about them altogether. To avoid neglecting the necessary maintenance of your air conditioning system, schedule the tasks ahead of time in your appointment book or calendar. This way, you will always have time set aside to do them so you can protect one of the most vital systems in your home.

For more information, contact a local HVAC company, like Redlands Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.