When you have an annual AC tuneup, the maintenance technician performs a variety of tasks that get your AC cleaned, serviced, and ready for a long, hot summer. However, you can't just forget about your AC after that. Here are four DIY AC maintenance chores that keep your air conditioner working optimally until the cooling season is over.
1. Trim Growth Away from the AC
Tree branches, bushes, grass, and weeds can grow fast in the summer. If you don't keep up with yard work, the growth can crowd your air conditioner condenser and block airflow. Even if you don't have time to tend to your entire yard, be sure to keep weeds, grass, bushes, and branches cut back so they don't block air around the unit. You can cut down on the work and worry you have to do by creating a wide paver or gravel border around your AC that keeps weeds far away.
2. Check the Fins and Cage
The AC maintenance technician will check and clean the condenser cage, fins, and other parts, so you may not have to worry about them over the summer. However, if you notice the fins caked with grass clippings or see debris inside the cage after a storm, you may want to clean out the fins and cage so nothing can interfere with the optimal functioning of the AC.
If you notice fins are bent, as might happen if you run into the AC with the mower, straighten the fins back out or call an AC service to reposition the fins so they don't block airflow.
3. Watch for Dripping Water Around the Air Handler
Your air conditioner pulls humidity out of the air in your home through the process of condensation. The water drains into a pan that's attached to a drain that empties the water. If the pan develops a hole or if the drain is clogged, water backs up and gets in the AC or drips on the floor. When you pass the air handler or stop to dust it, check the floor to make sure it's dry. If not, the drain system may need maintenance.
If you don't know how to clear an AC drain line clog, call an AC maintenance service so the problem is fixed and the water doesn't harm the air handler.
4. Control Dust Around the AC and Filter
An important part of AC maintenance is keeping dust out of the system. That's the purpose of the filter, and the filter can only do its job if you change it on schedule. You might need to replace the AC filter once a month when the AC is running daily. In addition, stop to dust the air handler occasionally so dust on the outside won't get sucked in the unit.
While these AC maintenance steps may sound simple and unimportant, they make a difference in how well your AC cools your home and how efficiently your AC operates. Regular maintenance can even prevent damage to your AC that causes a breakdown and need for repairs. The quick maintenance chores you do along with an annual service call can give your air conditioner a long life so you get value from your investment and so you can enjoy cool comfort on hot days and nights.