The sun’s peeking through the clouds. The flowers are beginning to bloom. And the temperature’s rising. It’s time to end your air conditioner’s hibernation and ensure it’s in tip-top shape for the hotter days ahead. Routine A/C maintenance can save you money and headaches from having to deal with untimely air conditioner repair.
Follow these air conditioner tune-up tips to ensure your unit works on that first hot day of the year.
What's the Best Time of Year to Service Your A/C Unit?
Experts suggest performing air conditioning service once a year (the same goes for heating). Spring is the best time. However, to ensure your system continues to work efficiently, you need to do some regular maintenance.
Ways to Service Your Air Conditioner Yourself
Luckily, you don't always need a professional to perform an air conditioner checkup. There are a few things you can DIY before calling an expert.
1. Change the air filter.
Changing the air filter is one of the most important and easiest ways to maintain your unit—whether it’s a central HVAC system or a ductless air conditioner. Thankfully, you don’t need a professional for this quick and easy air conditioning maintenance task. Simply locate your unit’s filter slot, slide out the old filter, and insert the new one, taking note of the direction of the airflow and which side of the filter needs to face out. Be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for correct filter size and steps for properly replacing the filter.
Wondering which type to buy and how often to change the air filter? Filters come in different “strengths,” depending on how filtered you want the air to be in your home. And generally, you should replace the air filter about every three months.
However, if you have pets, you may consider replacing the filter every month as well as purchasing a filter with a higher rating—the higher the number, the more it filters the air. The same rule applies if you have family members that may be sensitive to dust and other allergens.
2. Do some spring cleaning.
The new filter is in, so it’s time to check a few more items off your DIY A/C maintenance list. First, make sure all the indoor vents are clean. Next, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the drain of the outside unit to prevent mold and algae buildup. Then, ensure the unit
is on a level surface.
doesn’t have any debris, such as leaves, pollen, or twigs, clogging it up.
has at least two feet of clearance around it.
has the proper amount of good-quality insulation around the refrigerant lines.
Note: For safety reasons, this home air conditioning service step should be done without attempting to open the outside unit. If you can’t get it clean without taking it apart, call on a professional to do the dirty work.
4. Assess your A/C’s performance.
After you’ve assessed the outside appearance of your home air conditioning unit, it’s time to assess its performance. Crank it up and see how it fares. Determine if your home is getting cooler, if the unit is quiet, and if it appears to be performing normally overall.
Note: The first time you turn it on, you may notice a smell. That’s simply the air conditioner’s way of clearing out the dust that may have settled since the last time you ran the unit. It should dissipate shortly.
When to Let the Professionals Perform Your Air Conditioner Service
Perhaps you’ve turned the unit on, and you hear a strange noise coming from it. Or worse, it’s not actually blowing cool air. That means it’s time to call in the professionals—and the earlier, the better.
Without a home warranty, A/C service costs may vary depending on your location and if you need air conditioner repair or replacement. But with an American Home Shield® home warranty plan, you can enjoy affordable coverage for any covered issues with your A/C unit. Learn more about what’s covered for your air conditioning under a home warranty, including HVAC tune-ups and more. We’re here to help you keep your cool when it comes to unforeseen repairs or replacements.
Learn more about how air conditioners work and other A/C maintenance tips like how to clean the air conditioner condensate drain line.
AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.