Even as we're leaving summer and moving into the cold winter months, there are still several steps you can take to get your home's air conditioning system ready for next spring. Periodic AC maintenance is the key to ensuring that your unit runs in tip-top shape, and while there are several things that need be done professionally, there are a few items that every homeowner needs to take to do their own AC maintenance between service calls.
Change Air Filters Regularly
Most experts agree that air filters need to be changed every 3 to 6 months depending on the usage. Most homes only have one that needs to be changed, but some homes have two or even three that need to be replaced. Failure to do so can result in your home's AC unit becoming clogged and your air ducts being lined with grime or dirt. Either way, a clogged air filter is a recipe for a premature air conditioning failure and may even necessitate a full replacement at some point in the future.
Clean the Grills
If you walk outside towards your air conditioning unit, you may notice that there is a significant amount of debris that has collected around your AC unit. Pull the tree branches, grass clippings, and leaves that have accumulated on the sides so that the airflow can resume inside the unit unhindered. If necessary, install a guard around the AC unit to make sure that no more debris collects in between inspections.
Wipe the Fans
Although this next step may require professional assistance, proper AC maintenance requires a thorough cleaning of the fan blades and internal components every so often. Make sure you unplug the power first, as the last thing you want to happen is it clicking on while you're in the middle of cleaning it. Once you've done so, remove the grill guard around the AC unit and spray it down with a can of compressed air.
Empty the Drain Pan
As your AC unit condenses, it puts out an enormous amount of liquid. Normally, this liquid collects in a drain pan and goes down a pipe to the outside of your home, but if it's clogged you'll notice that the drain pan is filling up with water instead. This can cause spillage and create significant water damage in the area around your AC unit, so make sure you take care of this as part of your regular AC maintenance.