For most home owners, an air conditioner is a big investment that you do not make lightly. An air conditioner costs a lot when you buy the unit but it also costs you in energy bills after purchase. A well-maintained air conditioner (AC) unit can last a long time and keep working efficiently. In contrast, neglecting the necessary maintenance of your units can lead to a steady decline in the performance of the unit. According to the US Department of Energy, 6% of an average household’s total energy use goes into cooling the home. The filters, coils, and fins in your unit require regular maintenance to function effectively and last longer. According to a leading manufacturer of air conditioners, your AC loses roughly 5% of its efficiency each year that it works without proper maintenance. Hence, it is in your interests to keep your AC well-maintained and operational.

However, maintaining and keeping the AC updated is not as difficult as it sounds. There are many companies offering AC repair and maintenance services to keep your units up-to-date. But, if you want to avoid the extra cost or prefer DIY, you can do the upkeep yourself too. You don’t need to have any electrical or mechanical expertise to take basic care of your unit. Some simple steps and regular care can help you keep your unit in good condition and working efficiently.

Regularly Clean the Filter

One of the most important chores for regular AC maintenance is to replace the air conditioner filter on a regular basis. The air filter blocks air borne particles like dust, dirt or allergen particles to infiltrate your home and keeps your air clean. But over time, the air filter gets clogged and can significantly reduce your system’s efficiency. Clogged and dirty filters decrease the air flow causing your AC to work harder to cool the room. Replace a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one to lower your energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Some types of filters are reusable after a simple cleaning while others must be replaced.

Keep the Air Conditioner Coils Clean

An air conditioner cools your home with the help of evaporator coil placed indoors while collecting the indoor heat and releasing it outside through an outdoor condenser coil. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing (usually copper) surrounded by aluminum fins. However, over time these coils collect dirt which insulates the coil and reduces the airflow. This reduces its ability to absorb heat. It is essential to clean these coils every year to keep them functioning properly. For outdoor condenser coils, clean the area around the coil, remove any debris, and trim foliage back to facilitate adequate airflow around the condenser.

Check the Fins in Your Unit

Both the evaporator and condenser coils have aluminum fins surrounding them to facilitate air flow. These fins can bend over time blocking the air flow through the coil. Insufficient air flow can reduce the AC’s ability to absorb heat. You should check your unit regularly to make sure there is no bending in the fins. If you notice bending, purchase a fin comb to comb it back to its original state. Alternatively, you can call professional AC maintenance service for the same.

Clean the Condensate Drains

The condensate drains allow the condensation created within your system to drain out. It is an important part of your system and should function properly for effective cooling. These condensate drains too get clogged over time. Clogged drains stop the unit from reducing humidity. As a result, the excess moisture seeps back into the room and can discolor walls or carpet. To prevent this you should check your condensate drains regularly for clogging. If you find it is clogged, you can clean it by passing a stiff wire through the drain. Alternatively, you can also call a professional technician to help.

Keep the Outside Unit Clean

For AC systems with units placed outside the house, cleaning can seem like a chore. These units can gather dirt, leaves, grass clippings, etc on the outside of the unit over time. This can reduce the system’s capacity to cool and reduce the air flow. You might often forget to clean these units as they are placed out of sight. However, keeping these outdoor units clean is very essential to keep your system working efficiently. You should clean the area around the unit, remove any debris, and trim foliage back at least 2 feet (06 m) to facilitate adequate airflow and smooth operation.

Schedule a Repair/Maintenance Service

Most of us are generally too busy with working and taking care of our family to properly care for our AC systems. So, if you don’t have the time to clean and care for your systems don’t get disheartened. Your local AC Company is often ready to offer their services for regular maintenance as well as air conditioner repair whenever you need it. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system. These professionals can ensure it is functioning at optimal levels and that there are no underlying issues.

Set Temperatures in a Smart Thermostat

In order to cut down on those huge energy bills, it makes sense to use your heating and cooling systems as little as possible. A programmable thermostat can make this step easier for you. All you need to do is set the temperature by day and time to reduce the unit’s overall usage. Simply program the thermostat to set the temperature higher during the day and colder during the night for sleeping. It’s far more efficient to set the desired temperatures in the thermostat instead of shutting down and turning on the system every day. This will save energy and keep your home comfortable whenever you want.

Keeping your air conditioner well-maintained is certainly an efficient and effective way of ensuring your appliance lasts longer and functions properly. It also has other benefits like saving money, saving energy, and keeping you comfortably cold during the hot summer days.