8 Most Important AC Maintenance Tasks

Air conditioner maintenance can help keep your home cool, improve energy efficiency, and avoid major repairs. Several different tasks, whether DIY or completed by a reputable air conditioning company, help your AC run more smoothly. That’s why we recommend scheduling AC maintenance at least once a year. If you want your air conditioning system to be reliable and last longer, don’t forget these tasks:

1. Check the Filter and Replace It As Necessary

Ensuring the air filter is clean is one of the most important AC maintenance tasks. Checking and cleaning/changing the filter is a simple DIY task and takes little time out of your schedule. If a filter gets blocked, reduced airflow will cause the unit to work harder and become less efficient. In a ducted system, it can also cause indoor air quality issues.

Disposable filters need to be replaced. Other filters can be removed, cleaned with running water, dried, and reinstalled. To access the filter, turn off the HVAC system and open the service panel. Most filters slide out easily, so cleaning or replacing one is a basic task.

2. Keep the Indoor Unit Clean

The indoor evaporator unit tends to get dirty over time. Layers of dirt, dust, and grime can build up on the coil and blower, reducing performance and leading to a musty or moldy smell. 

To clean the indoor unit, wipe it down with a clean cloth or feather duster. You can also spray the cloth first with a cleaning or antibacterial solution and wipe down the casing. If possible, clean the evaporator coil too. For a more thorough chemical cleaning of components inside the system, hire a qualified HVAC technician.

3. Compare the Thermostat Settings with the Indoor Temperature

One way to know your AC is working properly is to verify the thermostat setting and air temperature match. The thermostat should automatically turn the system on and off to maintain the set temperature. It should also show the air temperature, but you can also use a separate thermometer to verify the reading. If the numbers differ, check if the thermostat is properly set, if the AC needs a new filter, or if there’s an issue with the drain or evaporator coil.

4. Inspect the Condensate Drain and Clear Any Blockages

Your air conditioner collects condensation that forms during the cooling cycle. A built-in tray/pan and drain allow this moisture to be collected and directed outdoors. However, a blockage of grime, mold, algae, or pieces of insulation can cause water to back up and overflow, leading to possible odors and water damage. The drain can be cleared out using a vacuum cleaner at the end of the condensate pipe; depending on the severity of the issue, you may want to call an AC maintenance professional for this.

5. Clean the Condenser Unit and Surrounding Area

Since the outdoor unit is exposed to the elements, dirt, leaves, twigs, and other debris can collect on, in, or around it. Remove these and any items or objects nearby. Leave at least two feet of clearance on each side to avoid airflow and heat transfer issues. These simple DIY tasks can protect the condenser unit:

  • Remove any nearby storage boxes, bins, or home/garden equipment.
  • Wipe the casing with a damp cloth to remove dirt, dust, or plant matter.
  • Clean fine debris with a vacuum cleaner and brush attachment.
  • Use a garden hose to gently spray the fins clean.
  • Carefully straighten any bent fins with a fin straightening tool.

6. Make Sure Your AC System Is Properly Insulated

The insulation surrounding the copper piping, which looks like a black or white foam rubber material, helps maintain thermal efficiency. This is important as the refrigerant flowing through the lines enables your HVAC system to cool your home. Don’t try to replace damaged insulation yourself. If you find material that’s broken, crumbling, or missing and exposed sections of pipe, call a licensed contractor.

7. Schedule a Duct Cleaning Every Few Years

Unlike routine AC maintenance, duct cleanings aren’t recommended often, but can help extend the life of your air conditioner. A buildup of dust and debris can restrict airflow, straining the system and causing damage or a breakdown. It can also lead to poor indoor air quality. Aside from wiping down or removing and washing grilles and cleaning accessible vent spaces, you should hire a professional with the tools and expertise to properly clean ductwork.

8. Schedule Annual Maintenance

Making that phone call or online request every year is an important AC maintenance task. A professional will visit your home to inspect your air conditioner and perform tasks such as:

  • Thoroughly clean AC components
  • Lubricate the system’s moving parts
  • Inspect and tighten electrical connections
  • Test all electrical components
  • Perform a complete AC tune-up
  • Replace the air filter
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Check the thermostat
  • Inspect the blower motor
  • Look for and seal duct leaks
  • Inspect the coils for frost or damage
  • Clear the condensate drain line

Call Trio & Air for AC Maintenance

These are some of the most important tasks that can keep your AC system running smoothly, efficiently, and reliably while preventing major repairs. Our highly trained technicians perform a range of tasks during annual air conditioning maintenance. They can work with any make or model and thoroughly inspect, clean, and test it to ensure proper operation and optimal performance. To schedule AC maintenance or learn more about our equipment protection plan, call (415) 234-4728.

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