If you're like most homeowners, you most likely have a mile-long list of to-do tasks that need to be done either monthly or annually in your home. While regular repairs are more than likely a part of that list, one thing that should be on your schedule is regular air conditioning maintenance. A system that is maintained will not only operate more efficiently, but can also lower your utility bills and last longer, which keeps more money in your pocket where it belongs.
Below is a list of a few things that you can do in between HVAC service calls to maintain your air conditioning system. While most of these can be performed by the homeowner, if you feel uncomfortable doing any of them, contact an HVAC company to ask if maintenance is one of the air conditioning services that they provide.
Replace the Air Filters
One of the most basic tasks that you can do as a homeowner is to replace your air filters every 3 to 6 months. If you have anyone under your roof that suffers from allergy or breathing issues, or if you live in a particularly dusty environment, such as a new construction area, you'll want to change those out more often. Failure to do so can cause the system to become choked out and work harder than normal, which will cost you more money in utility bills but also potential repairs, if not force you to replace the air conditioner entirely. You'll also want to check your physical air conditioning unit and remove any debris that is settled up against the grates.
Clean Coils and Fans
Head out to your physical unit and remove the grates off the system. Disconnect the power source to your unit and look for the condenser coils and fan blades. Wipe down the fan blades with a rag to allow them to run more efficiently, but you'll also want to wipe down the condenser calls if you can reach it. They may not look like much, but your condenser coils are responsible for converting the hot air outside into the cold air inside, so if there's a barrier in between those two areas, that process can't take place.
Monitor Utility Bills
One of the easiest bits of air conditioning maintenance that you can do is also one of the most important. Pull out your utility bills from the last several months and make a note of the usage levels. While utility rates are increasing nationwide, your usage should stay relatively the same from year to year. If you notice that it's increasing, contact your HVAC company to schedule an appointment, since that means you have an energy loss somewhere that need to be rectified. While this isn't technically "maintenance," monitoring your utility usage is an integral part to keeping costs down and preserving the integrity of your system.