Homeowners in areas with hot or humid summers know how important their air conditioning is. Making sure your AC runs smoothly ensures that it’s running at peak efficiency during the hottest parts of the year when you need it most. Proper AC maintenance also helps reduce the potential for unexpected repairs or breakdowns, which can be costly.

In this post, we’re going to chill out while we look at some cool ways you can stay ahead of inconvenient and often costly major repairs and breakdowns. We’ll look at some of the essential maintenance that will be needed to keep your AC blowing cold all summer long, and we’ll talk about what can typically be done on a DIY basis, and what you’ll probably need a pro for.

A Closer Look At Your AC System & Components

The first step to getting a better understanding of your home’s AC and maintenance needs is getting to know the components and what each part of the system does.

The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and pumps it through the system. The condenser helps remove heat from the compressed refrigerant into the outside air, which allows it to cool and revert to a liquid form.

Inside, there is typically an evaporator coil, which helps absorb heat from your home’s ambient air where it’s transferred to the coolant, which then evaporates. There is a fan which is needed to help circulate the air back into the space.

Routine AC Maintenance Tasks

Routine maintenance is the easiest and cheapest way to help your AC operate with maximum efficiency and longevity. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways for homeowners to take care of their ACs.

Air Filter Replacement

The air filters in your AC system are critical to keeping air quality good and operating efficiently. Dust and debris will eventually clog the filter over time, and that can lead to increased strain on other system components. During months of high use, homeowners should check their filters and replace them monthly. Some filters, however, may be viable for up to 3 months.

Condenser and Evaporator Coil Cleaning

The coils in your AC unit go through a lot of condensation and evaporation cycles, which can lead to a massive amount of dirt and debris build-up, which then makes them less efficient. These coils,

commonly blocked and insulated by live foliage or a build-up of seasonal fall leaves, should be inspected and cleaned before the high-use seasons kick off.

Checking and Sealing Ductwork

This is one that many homeowners don’t often pay attention to, but leaky ductwork can lead to a substantial reduction in cooling ability and system efficiency. Inspecting your ductwork for leaks, holes, and poor unions, and subsequently sealing them, can significantly enhance efficiency and lower overall energy costs. Additionally, having a professional cleaning every few years can keep the system running well, reduce the wear and tear on components, and improve indoor air quality.

Professional Maintenance Services

Even though homeowners can tackle many of the routine aspects of maintenance themselves, certain tasks should be handled by experienced professionals. Having your AC regularly serviced by a professional can help catch issues that may be missed during monthly filter changes or periodic cleanings.

Annual Inspections

It’s always smart to schedule a professional inspection of your AC at least yearly, typically before the summer starts, so you know you’re going into the hot months ready to stay cool. During these yearly inspections, an experienced technician will evaluate the system’s overall operation including things like the conditions of the motor and fan, electrical connections, and the calibration of the thermostat. This is a deeply comprehensive check that makes sure all components, critical and ancillary, are functioning correctly and efficiently.

Coolant Levels and Refills

The coolant, or refrigerant that your AC system is pressurized with is crucial for proper operation. If the system is low on refrigerant, those levels may have dropped due to a leak in the system, often just the size of the tiniest pinhole, because since the systems are sealed they typically don’t consume coolant. Professionals will be able to check the levels, check for and repair any leaks, and refill any coolant that has been lost.

Deep Cleaning Services

No matter how well you take care of your AC, and how often or well you perform conventional DIY maintenance and cleaning, your technician will be able to clean it deeper and more thoroughly with their professional equipment. They’ll be able to do a deeper cleaning, which will give the system another boost to efficiency and longevity.

Emergency Repairs

Eventually, when your AC breaks down or fails, particularly if it’s hot out, fast, professional service is going to be critical to maintaining not just your comfort but in many cases your safety as well. Experienced technicians will be able to diagnose problems much more rapidly, but much more reliably, meaning less wasted time trying to figure out what’s wrong and more time spent fixing it.

Consider Upgrades

Another way that professionals can be a big help is by finding out what problems are likely going to present themselves in the future and helping to plan upgrades to avoid those. Being proactive with updates

Wrapping Up

As we’ve seen, it takes a combination of both DIY dedication and professional expertise to keep an AC unit operating efficiently and as long as possible, to ensure peak indoor comfort and safety.

We hope that this guide has given you some valuable insight as to where you can be active in the fight to keep your AC running as smoothly as possible, for as long as possible, by outlining practices like routine cleanings and filter changes to more technical inspections and part upgrades.

By sticking to this advice, homeowners can limit the chances of costly sudden repairs they face, while actively supporting the AC’s performance. Regular maintenance and seasonal checkups are not only helpful in lowering the cost of ownership but also help boost the resale value.