Keep This AC Maintenance Checklist Handy

Spring just started and it’s only a matter of time before your family will be depending on your home’s air conditioner for cool comfort 24/7. With an appliance that is this heavily used, you need to be doing what you can to ensure that it’s operating as efficiently as possible. Proper maintenance will help keep your energy bills more bearable each month during the cooling season, and it will also help prevent unexpected breakdowns on what may feel like the hottest days of the year.


Check out these tips to help you get the most out of your family’s air conditioner during the upcoming cooling season.


Tip #1: Schedule a maintenance appointment.

Schedule a tune-up for your air conditioner with a trained and experienced cooling professional. Many homeowners will put off getting their AC cleaned each year if it seems like it’s working “just fine.” Even if it seems like your cooling system is fine, there could be problems happening inside the unit.


During a maintenance appointment, a skilled cooling professional will be able to inspect all components inside your air conditioning unit to be sure everything is clean and working as expected. The technician will be able to pinpoint potential problems early — before they result in a breakdown of your unit this spring or summer. Even better, he or she will be able to recommend what’s required to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible. This may mean that a follow-up repair appointment is needed, a new part may need to be ordered, or the technician may be able to take care of the issue right away during the same appointment.


In addition to making sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible, the technician will make sure your unit is operating safely. If there are any potential problems, such as a wiring issue that could lead to a fire, he or she will advise what will be needed to help prevent a disaster in your family’s home.


Tip #2: Replace your air filter regularly.

It’s recommended for you to replace your air filter monthly, and perhaps more often if you have smokers or “fur babies” in your home. (They could cause your filter to get dirty much quicker.) Your air filter’s job is to prevent airborne materials, such as allergens, dirt, dust, etc. from getting pushed out through the ducts of your home along with the conditioned air from your AC.


When you don’t swap out the filter often, it will get clogged. This ultimately will obstruct proper air flow from your cooling system, and it could cause your family’s home to feel warmer than usual. And when your home’s air isn’t matching the temperature you set, your AC has to work overtime to try and cool things down. All this extra use could lead to premature wear and tear on your cooling system’s components.


Not sure what size replacement filter you need? Check out the specifications listed on the side of the filter’s frame and write them down, or take a picture of them with your cell phone before heading out to the store.


Tip #3: Keep your condenser clean and unobstructed.

The condenser is the part of your air conditioning system that’s found outside your home. It’s generally “box-like” in design. Maintain a minimum of two feet of clearance around the unit so that bushes, etc. don’t obstruct air flow. It may be a good idea to trim back any tree limbs or bushes around the condenser now before they get overgrown in the late spring and summer months.


Additionally, it’s important to note that you should never use your air conditioner’s condenser as a surface to prop things up against or set things on. Be sure that your family isn’t leaving their bikes lying against it, and no outdoor furniture, lawn mowers, etc. should be resting near or on top of it.


If, after performing a visual inspection of your condenser, you feel that it’s dirty and dusty after not having been used for several months during the fall and winter, you could use a garden hose to carefully rinse off the unit.


Tip #4: Check your thermostat.

When their space doesn’t feel as cool as it should, many homeowners worry that there’s a problem with their air conditioner and immediately panic. If this happens in your home, the first thing you should do is check your thermostat. It’s not unheard of for another family member to get chilly, especially when we’re still in the early stages of spring, and turn the thermostat from “COOL” back to “HEAT.” Check the settings on your thermostat before you call an air conditioner service provider for a repair!


Along with checking to be sure that your thermostat is properly set, if the device operates on batteries, now is a great time to swap them out with fresh ones. When you have weakened, nearly dead batteries inside your thermostat, it may not be sending the correct signals to your air conditioner to tell it when to cycle on or off, which could leave your home feeling warmer than usual. If your thermostat is hardwired, now is a good time to pull off the thermostat’s cover and check to be sure there aren’t problems with the wiring. If you detect an issue, call a cooling professional for assistance.


Tip #5: Check the vents in your home.

Another great way to help make sure your AC and home are ready for the warmer months is to check that your home’s vents aren’t blocked or closed. Often, a homeowner may close vents in rooms they don’t regularly use, such as a guest room. For proper air flow, be sure that all vents in your usable space are open.


Also check to be sure that there isn’t anything obstructing the vents, such as furniture, curtains, rugs, toys, bins, etc. When your vents are blocked in any way, they could cause your air conditioner to work overtime to try and maintain the temperature set on your thermostat. Again, this extra strain could lead to breakdowns or higher energy bills — and not to mention a very uncomfortable home!


Bonus tip!

To ensure that your air conditioner continues to run as efficiently as possible for the entire cooling season, consider enrolling in the Cooling Repair Plan from Pivotal Home Solutions. When you’re enrolled in this AC repair plan and a covered problem occurs in your home, just pick up the phone and give us a call — or chat with a customer service representative on our website during standard business hours by clicking the “Click to Chat” tab on the right side of the page. We’ll be happy to assist you with getting your home cool and comfortable again as quickly as possible!