Tips to Keep Your A/C Running Smoothly

Spring is a good time to check how your A/C system weathered the winter.  The following are preventive air conditioner maintenance tasks you can do now that will help you stay cool all summer long.  The chances are that in the summer months your air conditioner will be working overtime and that can put a strain on its many working parts.  So make the time to do these now.

Check filters regularly
Clean/replace air filters monthly during the summer and other periods of heavy usage. Every three months is generally the norm for periods of light usage. But when your A/C system is going around the clock, filters tend to fill up with dust and other particles quickly and should be changed monthly. A dirty filter keeps your system from operating at peak efficiency because it has to work harder to push cool air through your house. If a filter is so dirty that you can’t see through it, it’s definitely time for a new filter.  Keeping filters clean will help lower your utility bill and prolong the life of your air conditioner. If you’re not sure how to clean or replace them, ask your HVAC technician to show you during an inspection.


Be sure outdoor units are clean and clear
Tree limbs, plant growth, grass cuttings and other outdoor debris can really block up an outdoor unit. Thoroughly inspect the unit’s sides or top, and remove any debris caught in the coil walls. Gently clean the coil by using a soft-bristle brush on the fins. The emphasis here is on “gently” because the fins can easily bend. Removing dust and other debris from the fins will reduce resistance and increase efficiency.
As things start to bloom in the spring and into the summer be sure to regularly prune or remove any shrubs or other growth that is touching or close to the unit. Weed whackers or other powered cutting tools can easily damage the unit’s fins, so it’s better to use garden shears or some other type of hand clippers when working close to the unit.

*It’s important to note that as a safety precaution you should always turn off the unit’s thermostat and breaker before doing any work on or near the unit.

Also, if you don’t use your unit during the winter months, it’s a good idea to keep it covered. You can buy a cover at any hardware or home repair store or make one out of trash bags and duct tape.

Other parts of your A/C system, such as the condensate drain line, may need to be professionally cleaned and/or checked. Having a home maintenance plan in place can help you get a professional to perform a full cleaning and inspection if needed. An A/C warranty or home warranty can help get your A/C repaired cost-effectively if it does to break down. Now, all you need to do is relax with a tall, cold glass of lemonade!
For more tips throughout the year and to learn how a home warranty can give you peace of mind, check out TotalProtect onFacebook and Twitter.

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.