Summer heat is just around the corner here in San Bernardino County, and soon you will be running your air conditioning system throughout the day to keep your home comfortable as our area reaches into triple digit temperatures. Running your AC around the clock requires a lot of energy, though, so if it isn’t ready to handle the increased demand, you could be at risk of a breakdown. Worse yet, your AC system could prematurely fail and leave you with an expensive air conditioner replacement bill.
Yearly preventive AC maintenance is the simplest way to avoid air conditioning problems and lower your utility bills. The better you take care of your air conditioner, the more reliable its performance and the more energy efficient it will be.
Here is a list of simple DIY air conditioner maintenance tasks that you can perform at home.
AC Maintenance Checklist
- Change the air filters – Considered of the easiest and most effective steps of AC maintenance, replacing your filters at least once a month can keep your unit running smoothly.
- Clear the condensation lines – Clogging can occur in the drain line, the pipe which diverts condensation away from the unit. If a clogged AC drain line isn’t addressed, it can potentially back up into the air conditioner (or into your home) resulting in costly damage to your AC, ceiling and/or drywall. To prevent this from happening, locate the drain line and make sure it’s draining properly. If it isn’t, try using a shop vac to pull the clog through the opening of the drain. Alternatively, you can locate the access point, pour in some vinegar, let it sit for 30 minutes, and flush with hot water to clear any gunk.
- Clean the condenser – If your unit isn't covered with a tarp during the winter to protect it from dirt, leaves, and other debris, it is prone to clogging, which will result in your AC running inefficiently. Before you turn on your air conditioner for the first time of the season, mow the lawn, clear out any debris, and remove any plants that block the condenser. Then, ensure the power is off and hose down the outdoor unit to clean it.
- Brush off the fins – After a good hose-down, detail clean the fins with a soft brush (you can use an old toothbrush or there are special brushes specifically for this task that you can purchase online). Be thorough, but don’t brush too hard to avoid bending them.
- Inspect the concrete slab – Make sure the concrete slab that your condenser sits on is level. If it isn’t, your unit will end up using more power than it should to cool your home, resulting in more wear and tear on your system and higher energy bills. If the slab isn’t level, use a board to pry it up and add a small amount of gravel underneath. Once you’re done, remove the board.
- Install a programmable thermostat – Having a programmable thermostat can provide significant energy savings by controlling the overall temperature of your home during different times of the day. For example, you can program your thermostat to maintain a higher temperature while you’re away at work, a lower temperature during the evening hours, and the lowest temperature at night while you’re asleep. Because the thermostat does most of the work for you, you don’t have to remember to constantly change the thermostat settings.
Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer Heat?
If that all sounds like a lot, the simpler solution would be to simply call All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical to schedule an AC maintenance appointment. During your yearly appointment, one of our knowledgeable technicians will go through a comprehensive multi-point checklist ensure that your AC is in good repair. Any small issues can also be corrected before they have chance to turn into larger problems, which can save you the stress of a summertime AC breakdown.