1) Change your filter.
The simplest and most effective way to keep your AC running smoothly is changing your filter once a month. By regularly changing your filter, you reduce a lot of the burden on your system. A dirty or clogged filter makes your air conditioner work much harder than does a clean filter. Changing your filters regularly is easy on your budget and easy on your system as well. It will lower your utility bill and extend the life of your AC.
2) Keep your coils clean.
The AC coils and fins on the outside of your unit need to be kept clean and clear of obstructions. Leaves and other debris sometimes accumulate around your unit. If obstructions are present, your unit must work harder to function than it should. You can clean your unit with a regular garden hose and a broom. Do not use a pressure washer, as the strong spray could cause harm to your system. A little bit of housekeeping in this regard goes far toward keeping your air conditioner working optimally.
3) Keep surrounding shrubbery trimmed.
If you have planted shrubbery around your unit to hide it from view, be sure to leave adequate space around it for the unit to function without obstruction. A quick trim will do the trick.
4) Ensure your dryer vent is not angled toward your AC unit.
Lint from your dryer exhaust can cause problems for your unit. Ensure that lint cannot get inside the vents of your air conditioner by simply angling your dryer vent elsewhere.
5) Adjust your thermostat.
If you are away for long periods every day, adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature for the time you are away. This will lessen the amount of time your unit has to work each day and will lengthen its life cycle. An additional benefit will be a lower utility bill each month. Some newer thermostats allow you to pre-program your thermostat to match your schedule so that your home will still be cool when you arrive. Optimizing your system’s usage will maximize its life in the long term.
6) Check your ductwork and seal open spaces.
Make sure all your doors and windows are properly sealed to help keep your home cool. Perform a visual inspection of your ductwork occasionally to be sure it is sealed correctly. If the ductwork is not properly sealed, cool air will escape before getting into your home.
“The less cool air that escapes your home, the less your unit will have to work.”
7) Schedule an annual tune-up with an HVAC professional.
A trained HVAC technician can detect most problems before they become major ones. With a cost of around $100 for a routine maintenance call, the benefits will likely outweigh the costs by a considerable margin. A typical tune-up will include various tests to ensure your unit’s internal parts are functioning correctly, as well as a filter check, and a refrigerant charge if needed. Your technician will likely also clear the drain, and clean your unit thoroughly inside and out.