A technician replacing an AC air filter.

7 Tips For Easy Air Conditioner Maintenance

During the hot summer months, the last thing you want is your air conditioner breaking down. Simple maintenance can save you from the discomfort of a hot home and high repair bills. Here, we’ll explore seven straightforward home air conditioner maintenance tips to keep your system running smoothly. A well-kept air conditioner consumes less energy, works satisfactorily, and helps you cut down on costs.

The Importance of Professional Air Conditioning Maintenance

Maintenance and repair can be dangerous. An owner-occupier should leave the technical evaluation and repairs to properly trained and certified professionals rather than experimenting themselves. In addition, annual professional maintenance helps to preserve your system’s warranty.

Nevertheless, with a little knowledge, you can carry out some routine air conditioner maintenance and save money on services. However, don’t forget to take necessary precautions and call for professional help in case of emergency!

Time for The Tips! 

Air conditioner maintenance is not just about avoiding breakdowns; it’s about optimizing your system’s efficiency. Consider using these home air conditioner maintenance tips to get the most out of your investment.

Thermostat Inspection

Examine your smart or programmable thermostat and ensure it is properly working to keep your residence at the right temperature. It is the most effortless air conditioner maintenance task to begin with. A smart thermostat can monitor energy use and keep it at a minimum. Setting daily schedules to cool down your house and checking reports can help you pinch pennies and pocket them! Is it time to replace your thermostat? Upgrading to an elegant, mechanical, and perfect American Standard HVAC’s Gold 824 smart thermostat in Buffalo, NY, might be a great idea. 

Change or Clean the Air Filters

One of the most important chores for home air conditioner maintenance is cleaning or replacing filters frequently. It must be done once a month during seasons of extensive utilization and once every two months during fall or spring. A dirty filter hinders airflow and makes your system work harder than usual. It may affect indoor air quality and activate symptoms of allergies and asthma in the family. 

The location of your heating and cooling system filters can vary. For central air conditioners, filters are usually located along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, or in the air conditioner itself. For room air conditioners, the filter is typically mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Unclog the Condensate Drain

So, what maintenance does an air conditioner need? Unclogging the condensate drain is one of the most critical air conditioner maintenance tips. Over time, the condensate drain of your air conditioner can become clogged with algae, dirt, insect nests, and other debris. This can lead to water leakage, increased humidity levels in the home, and potential water damage.

To check if the condensate drain is clogged, locate the drain pipe near the indoor cooling coil, typically mounted above the furnace in the basement. You can use a stiff wire to clear out the drain if you suspect it is clogged. Some people also use a wet-dry vacuum to suck out the clog from the outside drain. For a more thorough cleaning, you can flush the system with a mix of water and a little bleach to break down any algae or mold buildup.

Clean the Outside Unit

Still looking for air conditioner maintenance tips? If so, we have to emphasize the importance of keeping the outdoor unit clean. The outside unit of your air conditioner, the condenser, plays a crucial role in the cooling process. Maintenance of the outside unit of the air conditioner is necessary as leaves, grass, and plants may grow around the unit. It may result in decreased capacity and airflow.

To clean the unit, turn off the power and use a garden hose to gently wash out the debris from the top and sides. However, do not use a power washer, as the pressure can harm the fins. If the dirt is stubborn, use a soft brush to gently clean the fins.

Also, trim any bushes or other plants back from the air conditioner to avoid impeding airflow to and from the unit. Aim for at least 12 to 18 inches of clear space around it. Keeping the area around your air conditioner clear is crucial for maintaining proper airflow and efficiency.

Verification of Air Conditioner Fins

The fins installed on your air conditioner’s exterior help it stay cool, which is why they should not be damaged. Anything that comes in its way can lead to deformation. You can avoid this by keeping an area of one foot of clearance on all sides of the Air conditioner. 

In case they are bent, contact us to schedule a professional repair. 

Check Wiring and Components

Before working on your HVAC system, shut off the power to the unit. Typically, there is a shut-off box near the outside unit. Once powered down, you can check any electrical connections to confirm they are tight and there are no signs of overheating or burned insulation on wires.

Remove the access panel on the condensing unit and look for signs of overheating — melted insulation on wires, blackened or burned-looking wires, and other components inside the unit. Also, check for any electrical connections that seem loose or are starting to corrode.

If you discover any issues, it might be best to call a professional like Zenner & Ritter to check and repair the wiring and components. This evaluation is part of regular air conditioner maintenance and helps prevent more costly repairs or potential hazards.

Make Sure the Condenser Unit Is Level

Over time, the pad upon which the condenser unit sits can begin to tilt as the soil settles beneath it. An unlevel condenser unit can cause the compressor within to fail early. Checking the condenser unit for level and confirming that the pad is still in good condition can save you money and trouble.

Use a level to check the condenser for evenness. If it is off, use rot-resistant shims to bring it back to level. The process is straightforward but important to extending the life and efficiency of your air conditioner.

When to Call an Expert

As you can see, there are many air conditioner maintenance tips that homeowners can use. With a little know-how and a can-do attitude, you can help your air conditioning system run more effectively. While many maintenance tasks are straightforward, there are times when it’s best to call in professionals like Zenner & Ritter:

  • Annual Maintenance Checks: Maintaining your AC unit goes beyond just changing the air conditioner filters. Professionals can perform a more comprehensive cooling system inspection and tune-up than most homeowners. These services can help enhance your air conditioner’s energy efficiency, preserve your system’s warranty, and lower your energy costs.
  • When You Notice Performance Issues: If your air conditioner is not providing cool air like it should, making strange noises, or cycling on and off too frequently, it’s time to call a professional. There could be a larger issue, such as a problem with the outdoor unit, that requires repair.
  • For Electrical Issues: There are numerous home air conditioner maintenance tips you can follow, but some tasks need to be handled by a trained expert. Any problems with wiring or electrical connections should be handled by a professional to avoid safety hazards.
  • Refrigerant Leaks: Only trained and certified professionals should handle refrigerant due to its toxic nature and the specialized tools required.

Call for Professional Help!

Regular maintenance of your air conditioner can seem like a chore, but it’s a series of simple steps that can save you from the frustration of breakdowns and costly repairs. These air conditioner maintenance tips can guarantee that your home remains a refuge from the hot weather outside.

Remember, while many aspects of air conditioner maintenance can be DIY, some tasks require professional assistance. If you encounter any issues or need a comprehensive check, Zenner & Ritter is here to help. We offer a wide range of services, including air conditioning repair in Buffalo, NY, to keep your cooling system in top shape.

Contact us today to schedule your air conditioner maintenance and enjoy a cool and comfortable home for years to come!