Basic Air Conditioner Maintenance for Homeowners

Air conditioner maintenance is important to ensure for keeping your AC running smoothly and efficiently. You can accomplish these maintenance checklist to prep yourself or hire a professional HVAC technician. While it might be cheaper to attempt DIY AC maintenance, we highly recommend you work with professional technician to get the best results.

If you are using a portable, window, thru the wall, or central air conditioning system to keep your home cool, maintenance is necessary. This increases system efficiency, which in turn saves you money on your monthly energy bill. How would you like to save 5-15% on energy costs?

Following a few simple AC maintenance tips keeps money in your pocket while staying comfort.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist

Below is an Air Conditioner maintenance checklist that you should perform on your AC system regularly.

Cleaning and/or Changing the Air Filters

The most important thing you can do to increase the efficiency of your air conditioner is to clean and change air filter as needed.

Dirty air filters interrupt the flow of air and for this reason can reduce cooling efficiency significantly. If the AC air filter is dirty, air that bypasses the filter might carry dirt directly to the coils and impair the coils’ ability to absorb heat.

For window, portable, and thru the wall units the filter is located on the unit, usually in the front or back. It is easily removed and most often washable until it is too worn and needs to be replaced.

If you have a central AC unit, the air filter is usually located along the return ducts’ length. Most common places are in the walls or ceilings and slides into a slot above or below the AC unit.

Some AC air filters are reusable and can be clean, but others must be replaced. They come in a variety of sizes and efficiencies. If your AC is in constant use, the filter might need to be cleaned or replaced a little more often, especially if your living environment is subject to dusty conditions or if you have pets.

Basic steps to replace AC air filter:

  • Make sure you have the correct filter size.
  • Carefully remove the old filter.
  • Clean the area around the filter.
  • Fit in the new filter by following the right direction. For more information about the correct air filter direction, check out our air filter guide.

If you’re unsure of the type of AC air filter to use, drop your comment below, we can recommend one based on your specific system.

Blower Motor Cleaning And Maintenance

Blower motor is a main part in your HVAC system that is responsible for circulating air into the house. It’s the key to maintaining a comfortable temperature and humidity throughout your system.

Always ensure that the fan in the motor is clean from dust and debris. Ensure that the motor belt is in good condition. More information on blower motor maintenance, read our blower motor replacement guide.

Check the Coils and Fins

The evaporator coil, condenser coil, and fins can collect dirt over time. The dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, which reduces its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem be sure to check these factors and clean as needed.

If your AC system is outside, the coils and fins can get very dirty, especially if the outdoor area is dusty. Clean up the area, cutting back foliage by at least 2 ft. Clean the coils and fins to allow for adequate airflow.

Is it Draining Properly?

Check the drain pan to be sure it is not clogged. Condensate should be able to flow out of the unit freely. Clogs keep the unit from dehumidifying as it should. A clogged drain can also cause leaking and excess moisture to collect against walls and carpets.

Here’s how to clean the drain:

  • Turn the system off
  • Locate cleaning port
  • Remove cleaning port cap
  • Slowly pour cleaning solution down PVC drain line
  • Replace cleaning port cap
  • Turn the system back on

Seal the Deal

If you have a window, thru the wall or portable AC be sure it is installed properly and the window area is sealed as it should be. This ensures superior cooling and AC efficiency.

Check it from time to time. As the house settles, small gaps could have formed, especially if it has been several months since you have used the unit.

Winterize Your AC

If you live where winters can be a little harsh and you have a room air conditioner, remove the system and store it. If you have a central AC system then just cover the unit to keep it from inclement weather and debris.

To keep your system protected, follow these AC maintenance task:

  • Turn of the power
  • Clean the unit
  • Cover Up Your Air Conditioning Unit
  • Insulate The Pipes
  • Throughout winter, be sure to remove snow, ice and debris from the top of your HVAC unit

Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance

When your AC needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional, well-trained service technician to look at the whole system. Energy.gov offers the following advice when using a professional HVAC technician to service your unit:

  • Make sure the technician checks for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Tests for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Captures any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Checks for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measures airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verifies the correct electric control sequence and makes sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspects electric terminals, cleans and tightens connections, and applies a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oils motors and checks belts for tightness and wear
  • Checks the accuracy of the thermostat

Professional AC Maintenance Cost

Professional AC Maintenance will make sure that your air conditioner is running perfectly and helps spot potential trouble. Preventative maintenance is essential for keeping the performance, efficiency, and lifespan of your unit.

Average Air Conditioner maintenance costs around $75 to $150 for simple tune ups.

Type of SystemMaintenance Cost
Portable AC$50 – $75
Window AC$50 – $100
Central Air$75 – $150
Ductless Mini Split$100 – $250

Air Conditioner maintenance task requires specific knowledge and tools. Keep your AC system running smoothly with annual checks from professional HVAC technician.

About Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.