Maintaining Your Air Conditioner for Longer Life

There are a few maintenance tasks that you can do to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Cleaning key components keeps it running cooler and efficiently. As part of your spring chores to get ready for the warm weather, add these tasks to make sure your air conditioner is ready when you need it most.

Check and Replace the Filter Regularly

The air filter removes contaminates in the air before it goes through the system. This keeps the air you breathe in your home free of dust, pollen, hair and pet dander. It also prevents dirt from building up on the air conditioner components. Should the motor become dirty, it will run hotter and may burn out. This results in an expensive repair bill.

Depending on the type of filter in your system, it should be replaced every one to three months. The most inexpensive standard air filters do a good job keeping your air conditioning system clean. They will last several months before needing to be replaced. The high density HEPA filters remove move particles and clog up faster. These may need to be changed monthly.

Clean and Repair the Cooling Fins on the Condenser Unit

The condenser is the part of the air conditioner that compresses the coolant to create cool air that is released into the house. The condenser sits outside of the house in a small housing unit with a fan. Specially shaped metal "fins" surround the condenser to draw heat away from it. Should these fins become clogged with dirt and yard debris, or they are deformed when the unit is accidentally hit, the condenser will become hot and may stop working. Maintaining the cooling mechanism is an easy project.

  1. Switch off the power to the air conditioner at the circuit box for the house.
  2. Remove the screws that secure the top onto the condenser unit outside of the house.
  3. Pull the top off and place it aside.
  4. Using a vacuum cleaner with a long wand and a soft brush, carefully clean off the fins surrounding the condenser.
  5. If you see any bent fins, carefully straighten them out.
  6. If an entire section of fins is smashed in, contact an air conditioning repair company to fix them. They have a special tool to "comb out" the bent fins. If they are broken, the repair company will need to replace them.
  7. Replace and secure the cover to the unit.
  8. Switch the power back on to the air conditioner.