When it comes to air conditioner maintenance, it’s all about having a plan. Air conditioners can be intimidating, but armed with the right information, and a regular schedule of maintenance, you can be sure that your AC unit is always in the best possible condition. Here are a few HVAC preventive maintenance tips and checklists you can abide by for proper AC maintenance.

Seasonal Maintenance

Seasonal maintenance is an essential part of keeping your HVAC unit operational, and should usually take place in the early Spring and late Fall. Most homeowners only think of their outdoor air conditioning unit as needing to be cleaned before summer, but it needs to be cleaned before winter too. In the same way that Spring produces excess pollen and debris, Fall is notorious for producing dead grass, leaves, and twigs. In both seasons, you will find excess waste in your AC unit that needs to be cleaned out to prevent the system from getting clogged

It is important to note that your home HVAC system uses the same external fan system to heat your home as it does to cool it. Seasonal maintenance, i.e., every six months, ensures that your HVAC system is ready to go for whatever seasonal weather might be on hand.

Here are some important checklist items to attend to when attending to seasonal maintenance:

– Clean external unit fan with water

– Check belts for wear

– Remove debris from the external unit and keep vegetation clear of the area

– Clean the evaporator and condenser coils using soap and water

– Tighten any loose connections

– Flush the condensate drain to avoid any condensate buildup

– Lubricate blower motor and external fan as directed by your AC unit’s maintenance guidelines

-Call in a professional service technician

It is important to remember that you don’t have to be, “Mr. Fix-It.” If there is ever anything about your air conditioner that you don’t understand it is much better to call a professional contractor for help. There is a lot of your HVAC system that can be handled at a low maintenance cost with a quick DIY video and some elbow grease, but for the more intricate tasks, it’s best to call a pro.

Monthly Maintenance

Monthly maintenance tasks are typically easy DIY jobs you can take care of yourself. These jobs are relatively simple and don’t take much time or effort when checking on your central air conditioner. Here are some of the monthly preventative maintenance checklist items you should be adhering to as a way to keep your HVAC system operating smoothly and as energy efficient as possible. 

-Run the fan at least once a week. This will keep the inner workings of your AC from building up a stockpile of dust and debris. Typically the healthiest and most reliable indoor air cooling systems are those which are put through moderate, regular use. 

-Take part in air duct cleaning to regulate air quality. It is important to check the intake ducts throughout your house regularly. Keeping these air intakes clean from dust and debris will prevent unwanted clumps of dirt and other nasty stuff from clogging your air filter. Additionally, conducting a monthly air duct cleaning will help to ensure that nothing is blocking air from getting through like a piece of furniture or an old rag.

-Change the air filter. While most HVAC companies recommend that this is done twice a year, your local climate will determine how often this task needs repeating to ensure optimal indoor air quality. Usually, the filter can be wiped down with a wet rag and left to dry several times before a full change is required. It is vitally important that you allow your filter to fully dry before putting it back into your HVAC unit. Allowing the filter to dry fully will prevent mold and mildew growth from any trapped moisture

Scheduled Professional Maintenance

Scheduling professional maintenance is one of the most important parts of your Air Conditioner Maintenance checklist. The trained eyes of an HVAC professional contractor may be able to identify and diagnose a minor problem before it becomes serious. The long term health and well being of your HVAC system is dependant on 

-Duct Cleanings – your ducts only need to be cleaned about once every 3-5 years, and this is more important for commercial buildings than it is for your home. Even still, this process is something only a professional is equipped to handle

-Changing the coolant – this isn’t like changing the coolant in your car. Precise measurements need to be taken with instruments that are not easily found at your local home improvement store. Being that coolant is what helps keep your air conditioning functioning at optimal efficiency, professional coolant changes are vital for AC maintenance.

-Changing belts and electrical components. Even if you are technical enough to diagnose an issue with the mechanics of your AC unit, typically the nuts and bolts of the issue pose a more difficult dilemma. Changing worn-out parts on your AC unit is a job that is best left to HVAC technicians. Tinkering with an issue you are not trained to handle could result in making the problem more complex, or worse, you could end up injured.

HVAC maintenance is all about staying ahead rather than falling behind. Hopefully, this checklist of maintenance tips helps you find a balanced maintenance schedule that keeps your AC unit running smoothly, while also keeping the energy bills low and your air quality high.