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AC maintenance tips: a checklist

Review these AC maintenance tips so you're ready for a cool season.

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Follow these AC maintenance tips. Photo by Simon Blackley on Flickr.Maintaining your air conditioner can help you save money and keep the unit working properly. AC maintenance tips range from checking different features of the machine to replacing simple parts when it stops working.


When you need to troubleshoot a central air conditioning system, take the time to go over the unit with a fine-toothed comb.

The filter in your machine blocks dust and other particles, but a good filter won't last forever. If it doesn't feel cool in the room, replace the filter before you call a contractor.

You'll also want to wipe down the vents in the air conditioner every two to three months with a dry cloth and move anything away from the condenser. When you check air conditioner condensers, look for anything leaning on or touching the unit.

You can also hire a technician to examine the Freon levels before you start shopping around for an air conditioner estimate for a new unit.

Many air conditioner problems are simple things that you can repair on your own. You can even take care of drain ports maintenance on your own. Drain caps can help you when it comes time to clean out the drains. You can clean the coils yourself or hire someone to clean the evaporator coils and other components.


Cleaning and maintaining your AC is an important step in your thermostat maintenance. Take a few minutes every few months to check out the unit.

Create and follow an AC maintenance checklist to keep your unit in working condition and to improve the indoor air quality in your home. Once a year, have an HVAC technician come out and review your system in the spring. If you have both a heating and cooling system, then it should be checked twice a year in the spring and fall.

Here are steps for you to go by:


    • Keep yard debris off of the AC grille.
    • Keep hedges and vegetation at least 2 feet away from the AC unit.
    • Clean the condensor and coils. Brushing off any dirt and wiping down with warm water. (Note: You should turn off your unit before doing so.)
    • Cheak for any leaks.
    • Check refrigerant level.
    • Inspect fan motor and blades for wear and tear.
    • Inspect compressor and related parts.


    • Before you need to run your AC on a regular bases, blast your AC as part of spring cleaning. This is especially true if there's a period in the spring where you don't run your heat or AC.
    • Check the blower.
    • Vacuum up dust, etc., from your ducts.
    • Check ducts for leaks.
    • Check and clean evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain lines.
    • Replace the air filter on a regular basis.

AC maintenance tips include those for window units. Before you replace air conditioner units, stop and clean the unit. Window and room air conditioners can develop frost on the outside, which will stop the unit from producing cold air. Turn the AC off for a few hours and let the ice melt and drain away from the air conditioner.

If you find yourself looking at how to troubleshoot an air conditioning window unit or calling a cooling service, try replacing the filter and cleaning the unit first. You can extend the life of your air conditioner by maintaining it properly.

Whether you have a window unit or central air, you still owe it to yourself to clean and maintain the unit throughout the year. Research other ways that you can do simple repairs and troubleshoot any HVAC issues that you have at QualitySmith. Regular AC maintenance is the only thing you need to keep your air conditioner running and ready for warmer weather.

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Photo credit: Simon Blackley via Compfight CC.