There are many types of DIY AC maintenance. The following tips will keep your AC running at peak performance and are generally quite simple. We strongly recommend performing these tasks between professional air conditioning maintenance visits, as they can prevent repairs, increase efficiency, and help your air conditioner last longer.

1. Check/Clean/Replace the Air Filter

Check the filter at least once a month. Clean or change it if it’s clogged. An AC filter should be replaced every one to three months depending on the type, how frequently the system is used, and if your home is dusty or you have pets. Clean filters can improve system efficiency and indoor air quality.

Changing the filter requires sliding it out of its fitting and inserting a new one in its place. Reusable filters can be wiped with a cloth, vacuumed, or washed in water. Allow the filter to air dry before reinstalling it.

2. Make Sure Vents and Registers Are Dust-Free

Dust and dirt on vents and registers can be blown into rooms, sucked back into the system, and recirculated. To clean each vent or register, brush it from top to bottom and from left to right. You can also use a vacuum cleaner. If specific vents or areas tend to become dirty, check and clean them more often.

3. Adjust the Thermostat to Accommodate Your Needs

Thermostat adjustments aren’t often considered a form of AC maintenance. But setting the temperature higher when you’re not home reduces the load on your HVAC system. It also lowers your utility bill and can increase the unit’s lifespan. Some thermostats can even be preprogrammed based on your schedule, while smart thermostats can allow you to control them remotely or sense when you’re home or not.

4. Check for Duct Blockages or Air Leaks

Blockages in ductwork or leaky ducts can reduce the performance and efficiency of your AC system. They can also cause poor indoor air quality. Open vent covers and peek into ducts with a flashlight to find issues in areas near vents. If you can’t brush or vacuum out dirt or blockages, call for help. Also, inspect visible sections of ductwork to spot any damage. The sooner you have the issue fixed, the less impact it will have on the system.

5. Clean the Evaporator Coil

Remove the outer cover of the air handler to access the evaporator coil. Use a soft brush to remove any dust, dirt, or mineral deposits. Next, spray it with a no-rinse coil cleaner. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a wand or hose attachment.

6. Clean the Drain Pipe

Check the drainage line for any blockages. If it’s clogged, you can use a vacuum cleaner to try and clear out the line. Or, attach a wet/dry vacuum to the end of the evaporator drain and seal it with a rag or duct tape. Remove the vacuum cleaner’s filter and let it run for two or three minutes. Also, check the drain pan; if it’s dirty, you can clean it with soap and warm water.

7. Shade the Outdoor Compressor

AC maintenance can start before you even use the system. Place the outdoor compressor on a shaded side of your house or under an awning. In the summer, direct sunlight can cause the compressor to heat up, increasing its load and potentially causing it to break down. It can also cause the refrigerant to evaporate more quickly, which can strain the unit.

8. Clean the Outdoor Unit

Outdoor AC units can get dirty pretty quickly. After turning off the power, open the fan cage with a screwdriver or wrench. Then remove the grill and check for debris inside the unit. You can remove dust and leaves by hand or with a vacuum cleaner. Use a hose to wash any areas you can’t reach. Then clean the area surrounding the unit and check it is level.

9. Clean/Straighten the Fins

The fins cover most of the outside unit. They’re easy to access once the fan cage is open. Clean exposed fins with a garden hose at low pressure. If any are bent, straighten them with a fin straightening tool or a dull household knife.

10. Run Ceiling Fans or Portable Fans

If you have ceiling or portable fans, run them from time to time. They help to reduce the apparent room temperature by increasing air circulation. You can turn back the thermostat a few degrees with no change in comfort. Limiting the demand on your HVAC system will help it run more smoothly.

Schedule AC Maintenance with Tri County Air

We provide professional air conditioning maintenance in Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties. It includes a complete system inspection, in-depth diagnostics, a thorough and careful cleaning, and prompt repairs by our certified HVAC technicians. To schedule your next AC maintenance visit, request an appointment online or call (941) 485-2222 today.