To properly maintain your air conditioning unit and make it efficient and long-lasting as possible, there are a few parts that require regular maintenance that you are able to do yourself. The unit’s filters, fins, and coils need just need light maintenance to keep it functioning well. Failing to follow a regular maintenance routine could result in a large year-by-year decline in efficiency and how long your unit might last.


Always change your filters. At a minimum every 90 days. Regardless of whether or not you’re using your units seldom or frequently, this is the most important maintenance task to do. It should be like clockwork. You don’t want your system to work overtime, so don’t make it hard for it to breathe. Get what you can afford, but try to get better filters. They’ll let your system run efficiently, while keeping dust mites, pet dander, and allergens at a minimum in your home. A clogged filter can block standard airflow and significantly compromise your system’s efficiency.

Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can reduce how much energy your air conditioner uses by 5% to 15%. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Replace your air conditioning unit’s filter(s) every month or two during hottest and coolest months. Your system will thank you. Keep in mind that filters may require frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use and/or you have pets in the house.


Your A/C unit’s evaporator and condenser coils tend to collect dirt or debris over the course of their lives. A clean filter can help keep the evaporator coil dirt-free, however, it will still collect a bit of unwanted dirt over the years. The effect this dirt has on your coil can hinder it from absorbing heat properly. Be sure to check your coils once a year, or at least get them inspected so they’ll function at high efficiency. Outdoor units’ condenser coils can become quite dirty if they are in dusty or foliage-heavy environments. The buildup of dirt on condenser coils is fairly noticeable by dirt that’s been collected on its fins.


The vertical aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent (especially by children with toys and sporting equipment), and when they’re bent can cause blockage of airflow through the elements of the air conditioning unit. There is actually a tool called a fin comb that can be found at A/C wholesalers that can basically get the fins back into factory conditions.


Once in a while, it’s a good idea to use a pipe cleaner or other stiff wire to clear out any clogged drain channels. A clogged drain channel can prevent a system from reducing humidity, and might result in excess moisture that could discolor walls or carpet.


Your air conditioner is normally one of those things taken for granted until you’ve got a problem with it. That’s why it is recommended to give it some TLC to help it stay healthy so you’re not left in the heat. A little preemptive maintenance goes a long way!