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Air Conditioning Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide (2018 Update)

by Stewart Unsdorfer

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You rely on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool and comfortable, but in order for that to happen, your A/C system requires regular maintenance to function efficiently.

Just like any other home appliance, it's normal for your air conditioning unit to experience some wear and tear from regular use and develop mechanical problems at some point during its lifetime.

Keeping your system up and running smoothly requires proper attention to its maintenance and service needs. System maintenance can also save you money and headaches from unexpected breakdowns that can leave you sweaty and fuming! 

If you are looking to keep your home comfortable (and who isn't?), then keeping your A/C running is a must.

Let's take a look at what you can do, and when you need to call in the pros, when it comes to air conditioner maintenance...

Chapters

 

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Chapter 1

How Your Air Conditioner Works

If you recently moved from a home where you mostly used fans, window-mounted air conditioners, or are thinking of installing a central air unit, you may not be too familiar with the central A/C system. Don't worry... we can help.

Central air conditioning units operate in the same way that your refrigerator does, but on a larger scale. Essentially, your air conditioner quickly converts gas to liquid and back again using chemicals that move the heat in the air from inside your home to outside. 

For a more in-depth look at how your A/C unit works, check out these resources:


 

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Chapter 2

Why Does My A/C Need Maintenance?

Just as your car requires regular maintenance to run smoothly and properly, your A/C also requires regular care. Proactively taking care of your air conditioner not only extends the life of your unit, but it can also save you a substantial amount of money on repair and replacement costs. Something as simple as changing the air filter in your unit can prolong its efficiency as well as improve the air quality in your home. 

What other steps can you take to keep your unit running like new? Check out these resources to find out:


 

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Chapter 3

How to Shut Off Your A/C Power

When repairing or installing your A/C unit, it is important to turn off the power to your unit. Turning off your air conditioner's power not only protects your equipment and the unit itself, but also protects you from getting any type of electrical shock. Always check to see if you've successfully turned off your system by attempting to turn heating and cooling on from your existing thermostat.


 

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Chapter 4

How to Clean Your Outdoor A/C Condenser Unit

Cleaning your condenser unit outside on a yearly basis will increase the efficiency of your air conditioner and protect your investment. This is an easy DIY cleaning project, but you can also hire a professional to clean your unit for you, if you don't have time. Cleaning the condenser is especially important if there are dandelions growing around your unit or an abundance of leaves or grass clippings. 


 

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Chapter 5

How to Level Your Outdoor A/C Condenser Unit

Moving your air conditioning unit can be a daunting task, but if the unit is not properly leveled, it may fail to function properly and could cause refrigerant leaks. Be sure to use a level to check your unit at least once a year, as the earth under your unit is constantly changing and settling.

Below are a few resources on how to level your unit:


 

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Chapter 6

How to Clean Your Evaporator Coil

The Evaporator coils in your A/C unit are essential in cooling your home. Not only do they help cool things off, but they also remove the moisture in the air that causes that sticky humidity. Since these coils are typically moist from the condensation, they can easily collect dust and dirt and become dirty. Dirty coils prevent your central A/C unit from functioning efficiently, but they are also easy to clean.

Here are some helpful resources: 


 

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Chapter 7

What if Your Condensate Drain Line is Clogged?

Remember that evaporator coil we talked about? In order to prevent all the moisture in that coil from living in your A/C unit, the condensate drain line removes that moisture from the unit. Since this drain line is almost always moist, it's a breading ground for mold and mildew which can cause the drain line to get clogged. This is one of the most common reasons a pro is called in to fix an air conditioner, which means cash out of your pocket.

Luckily, this can be prevented with some simple maintenance once or twice a year:


 

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Chapter 8

Changing Your Blower Filter

Just as your dressers and countertops collect dust, so does the air filter in your air conditioner. Imagine if you never dusted inside your home, it would get pretty stuffy and hard to breathe after a while, right? Well, that's exactly what's happening inside your air conditioner if you don't replace the filters regularly. You'd be surprised how much gunk and dust gets collected in a relatively short time. Fortunately, cleaning your air filter is an easy task and helps your unit run efficiently while also improving your air quality.


 

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Chapter 9

When You Should Call a Pro

As we mentioned, keeping your air conditioning system running smoothly and efficiently requires proper, consistent maintenance and service needs. While most of the problems we discussed can be easily fixed at home, some problems require the attention of a certified technician. They have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the problem quickly and get your system up and running safely.

Here are some tips on contacting a pro:


 

Download our free PDF version of the Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning Maintenacne

Topics: Air Conditioners

blog author

Stewart Unsdorfer

Stewart has been in the HVAC business for more than 25 years. He is a state licensed heating and A/C contractor, as well as being certified in design, fabrication, layout and installation of forced air heating / cooling systems.

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