Do-It-Yourself Maintenance: 3 Tips To Get Your Air Conditioner Summer-Ready

by Cheryl Dunn

On the first day of the sweltering summer heat, the last thing you need is to find out that your air conditioning unit isn't working. When an air conditioner is idle during the winter and spring months, it's likely to accumulate leaves and debris that prevent it from running efficiently. By ensuring that your air conditioning unit is clean and functioning properly, you can also lower your energy bills during the summer. Here are some tips to prepare your air conditioning system for summer.

Inspect Filters

Check your air conditioning filters to make sure that they are not clogged with dust, pollen and dirt. If they are covered with dust, airflow will be  restricted and the unit will circulate dust in your home. Your air conditioning unit will also start working harder, thus reducing efficiency. Inspect the filters every few months and especially before summer to check that it's in good working condition.

Some air conditioning units have replaceable filters to dispose when dirty. You can also remove and clean some filters easily. Simply pull the filter from your air conditioner and rinse it using a soft brush and dish washing liquid to remove dirt. Let the filter dry naturally and vacuum it to get rid of any residual dirt. Once the filter is clean, place it back in the unit.

Clean Condensers

The condenser of an air conditioning unit is usually located outdoors. Ideally, you should protect it during winters with a condenser cover to prevent debris from accumulating on it. Despite your best efforts, some dirt and debris will always find their way onto condenser coils, reducing the efficiency of the condenser. To clean the coils, you need to remove the top and side panels of the condenser unit with a screwdriver. Use a soft brush and clean the coils from the outside. Be careful not to damage the delicate fins and coils. Once you've cleaned the coils from the outside, vacuum them from inside. You can also spray commercial coil cleaner from inside to tackle stubborn dirt. Use a cloth to clean the fan blades. Mop up any additional water inside the condenser and restore the unit. Let the condenser dry thoroughly and turn the air conditioning unit on.

Check Drain Lines

During the cooling process, your air conditioning unit removes humidity from your room air through a drain line. Drain lines get clogged with rust, dirt and debris when unused in winters. A clogged drain line will cause your unit to leak, causing irreparable damage if left unchecked for extended periods. Use a cloth and vinegar to clean clogged drain lines. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that removes rust and dirt easily.  

You can do basic air conditioning maintenance on your own to prepare for summer. If the task is too difficult to manage on your own, hire a professional, such as DACS Air Conditioning & Electrical Services, to tune up your air conditioning unit so you can stay cool this summer.