How to Maintain an Air Conditioner

If your home has a central cooling system, that system requires periodic maintenance to ensure that it functions as efficiently as possible. Routine air conditioner maintenance also helps ensure long-term unit performance while preventing unnecessary AC problems, or worse, premature unit burnout. 

What kind of air conditioner maintenance do you need to do to keep your AC in top condition throughout its life? Read on to find out. 

Schedule a Professional AC Inspection and Cleaning Annually

Before the hottest months roll around, it’s always a good idea to have an HVAC professional perform a comprehensive air-conditioner inspection and cleaning. Although you can attempt to handle the job on your own, doing so may not be in your best interest. Unless you’re an HVAC expert, chances are you’ll miss any fledgling red flags with the machine’s components that a professional would readily detect. 

When the pros come to your home to perform an AC checkup, they’ll make sure your unit is running well by:

  • Inspecting the air handler to determine if any issues need attention
  • Inspecting the outdoor unit for proper functionality and potential issues
  • Examining your ductwork for leaks, damage, and other issues that may affect AC performance and efficiency
  • Topping up the unit’s coolant, if necessary
  • Addressing potential electrical issues that can impact AC performance
  • Identifying and repairing damage caused by normal wear and tear
  • Addressing minor problems that may not impact performance in the short run but that may progress over time

As a general rule, scheduling professional AC maintenance annually is the best way to keep your air conditioner functioning optimally over the long term. 

Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly

Maintaining a high-functioning air conditioner hinges on maintaining proper airflow through the duct system. To maintain that airflow, you must keep your HVAC filters clean, which means they must be swapped out at regular intervals. 

You can follow the guidelines on the filter packaging, or if your filters tend to accumulate substantial dust and debris quickly, you may need to change them more often. A good rule of thumb is to change standard, one-inch pleated filters every 30 days.

Keep the Condenser Unit Clean

The outdoor component of your air conditioner (called the condenser unit) pulls in air from outside. As it draws in that air, small particles like pollen and other types of outdoor debris can easily stick to the unit. If you allow them to accumulate over time, they’ll eventually restrict airflow and decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner. 

To prevent that from happening, you’ll need to clean the exterior of the condenser unit periodically, especially when the pollen count is high. You can use a regular garden hose to give the outside of the unit a rinse, but it’s generally best to leave any interior cleaning to the pros. 

Keep the Area Around the Outdoor AC Unit Clear

Even if you’re not particularly fond of the appearance of your outdoor AC condenser, you can’t hide the unit behind plants or other objects. All air conditioner units need adequate room for proper airflow on all sides, so it’s critical that you keep the area around the unit clean and clear. 

If you have shrubs or other plants near the unit, trim them back so there’s a three-foot radius of open space on all sides. Be sure to clean up leaves and yard debris near the base of the unit and move any other objects at least three feet away. 

Keep All Registers Partially Open

While it’s true that closing some of the registers in your home will force more cool air out of other registers around the house, shutting registers can negatively impact AC performance. When you close registers completely, that raises air pressure in the duct system since you’re not allowing any air to pass through those particular vents. 

An increase in air pressure can cause the system to overheat and shut off, or it may cause the AC coils to freeze, which can result in damage to the compressor. If you’re trying to control airflow throughout your home by adjusting the registers, do not keep them more than 75% closed. Allowing a small amount of air through the register will help maintain appropriate air pressure inside the system and keep your AC functioning normally. 

Schedule Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance With Metro Express Service

Looking for top-notch AC maintenance services in Carrollton and the surrounding cities? Get in touch with our team at Metro Express Service in Carrollton! For over 30 years, we’ve proudly provided Dallas area homeowners with a comprehensive range of cooling and heating services, and our expert HVAC technicians are some of the best in the industry. To learn more about our services or schedule an AC inspection and cleaning, feel free to give us a call today at (972) 263-2500 or contact us online, and we’ll be in touch promptly.