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If you want your air conditioner to run smoothly, nothing is more important than maintaining it regularly. Without routine air conditioner maintenance, your unit’s reliability and efficiency will steadily decline, possibly ending in premature replacement after years of neglect.

While it’s important to schedule in-depth HVAC maintenance with a professional, homeowners can take several steps to save money on cooling costs, reduce mid-season breakdowns, and promote a longer AC lifespan. Here are seven air conditioner maintenance tips we recommend.

  1. Replace the air filter: The general rule is to check your AC filter monthly and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. This simple task promotes proper airflow and saves you 5 to 15 percent on your cooling bills.
  2. Clean the evaporator coil: The indoor portion of your AC unit can collect dust and debris over time. Check the coils and dust them with a soft brush as needed. For caked-on grime, apply a commercially available no-rinse foaming agent.
  3. Unclog the condensate drain line: If this tube becomes clogged, water could back up into your home. Keep the drain clear by pouring a 1:1 water and bleach solution down the channel. If debris becomes lodged inside, pass a stiff wire through to clear the blockage. An HVAC technician can also apply algaecide if algae growth becomes a problem.
  4. Check air registers: If you close registers or place furniture in front of them, you could throw off the system’s delicate balance, putting undue strain on your cooling equipment and increasing your energy bills. To prevent this, keep at least 80 percent of your air vents open and unblocked at all times.
  5. Clean and straighten the condenser’s fins: The condensing unit outside your house also needs attention. First, hose down the unit to remove cobwebs, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris. Then, straighten any bent fins with a fin comb. Gentle pressure from a butter knife also gets the job done.
  6. Tidy up around the outdoor unit: Trim back vegetation and rake up surrounding leaves, twigs, and pine needles to avoid impeding airflow.
  7. Level the outdoor unit: Over time, the concrete pad under the condensing unit may begin to tip as the soil settles beneath it. Sitting crooked may cause the compressor to fail prematurely, so address this problem without delay. First, place a carpenter’s level on the AC unit. If it is significantly tilted, place rot-resistant shims under the unit’s legs to bring it back to level.

By spending a little time on AC unit maintenance each year, you can expect your air conditioner to last well over a decade, providing a cool house and affordable energy bills all along the way. For more AC tips or to schedule air conditioning services, please contact Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. You can reach us at 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or call us at 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. We look forward to hearing from you!

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