It might be easy to forget about your air conditioning unit when it’s not in use, but as the weather warms up, you’ll want it to be in working order — and stay in working order. There are some things you can do yourself to make sure your AC unit can run as efficiently and effectively as possible all summer long.
Clear out brush near your AC unit
One really important thing to remember is that if you have central air, keeping the area around the condenser clear is important. If it has been a rainy spring, you might need to trim back bushes or brush and pull weeds that have grown up around the unit. You should keep about 24 inches of space clear around the the unit to allow for proper air flow.
Change or clean your AC filter
Next, you probably need to change the filter. If your AC unit has a disposable filter, it should be changed at the beginning of the season and then once a month throughout the summer. In addition to causing more wear and tear on the fan in your AC system if the filter is clogged, it could affect your air quality, as well. A clogged filter will also drive your energy bill up since it will be harder for the system to move air through it. If you have a reusable filter, you should clean and dry it at least once a month for the same reasons.
Shade and insulate windows
One maintenance task that a lot of people miss is making sure their windows are shaded during the day to keep the space inside as cool as possible. Using shades to reduce heat will lower your energy bills and also make your air conditioner last longer. Check the insulation around your windows and make sure any window AC units are properly installed and sealed — if you have gaps around the unit in awkward places that are hard to fill, use removable caulk or foam tape to seal it up.
Improve air flow
To improve airflow around the home and boost the efficiency of your air conditioner, keep interior doors open where possible and instal ceiling fans to help move cooled air through the house. The easier it is for air to circulate, the better your air conditioner will work. To get the most out of your ceiling fan, make sure it’s working to pull cool air up from the floor rather than pushing hot air down toward the ground.
Schedule a pro
Once you’ve got all of your DIY maintenance under control, it’s also a good idea to get on an annual maintenance schedule with a local company to make sure everything is running smoothly. Annual service can address minor repairs, as well as anything that involves opening up the unit. If you choose to attempt this yourself, make sure that the power to the unit is off from the source first, as the moving parts of an air conditioner can cause serious injury.
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