Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist

We are quickly approaching the end of the summer and if you had a particularly hot one, your air conditioning unit has likely been working overtime. Air conditioners come in various shapes, sizes and types, but they all need preventive maintenance in order to do what they were designed to do. Read below our top preventive maintenance tips for your air conditioning unit.

Look and listen. Visually inspect your air conditioner. Do you see any deficiencies? Cracks in the frame or frayed wires are big red flags. Air conditioners make noise, so listen for labored, strained or any other unusual sounds. If it sounds like something is loose and rattling around inside, that is generally indicative of a problem. We don’t recommend dismantling your air conditioning unit by yourself in these cases.  Always call a professional.

Check electric cords. Check the electric cords to and from your unit for wear and tear and connectivity. A faulty cord can cause your unit to malfunction and be a serious fire hazard. Remove and replace all worn-out cords and outlets.

Check filters. Just like any other part of your house, your air conditioning unit is exposed to dust and dirt, which accumulate in its filters. The U.S. Department of Energy states, “The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters.” This is especially true during the summer months when your unit is being used more often. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before replacing any parts on your unit.

Maintain the surrounding environment. If you own an outdoor unit, make sure you keep the area around it clear of all dirt, leaves and branches. Periodically check the exposed parts of the unit for accumulated debris and clear it out.

Keep your unit clean. A routine check of the evaporator and condenser coils and drip pans will help you avoid bigger problems down the line. Lack of cleaning can lead to deposits of debris that can clog and ultimately ruin your air conditioner. A wipedown with a damp washcloth or paper towel is typically all you need for basic maintenance.

As always, it is important to know that major appliance repair or replacement requires professional assistance. Don’t attempt to fix major damages yourself. To get expert help with your air conditioning unit, consider a home warranty policy like TotalProtect®.


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The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.