Having an air conditioner makes life so much more comfortable in the summer. But if you want your air conditioner to keep working and making you comfortable, then you need to take good care of it. Having an HVAC contractor out to perform professional maintenance once a year is a good idea. However, there are also some additional air conditioning maintenance tasks you can tackle on your own.
Change the Air Filter
The air filter in your air conditioner becomes more and more packed with dirt as time goes on and it does its job. If it gets too packed with dirt, then air will no longer pass through it freely, which causes your air conditioner to have to work harder. Changing your air filter more often prevents this issue. Aim to change yours once a month. You may be able to do it every other month if you don't have pets or anyone in your home who has allergies.
Straighten the Fins
Your outdoor condenser unit is covered in those little, metal pieces called fins. If they get bent, they start to restrict airflow through the condenser. Your AC contractor should straighten them during your annual maintenance visit. But you can also check on them every few months and straighten any that are starting to bend. You can do this with a basic butter knife, or with a special little tool called a fin comb. Most home improvement stores sell fin combs for a few dollars.
Vacuum Your Vents
Vacuuming your vents and vent covers may seem like a cleaning task. But by keeping these elements clean, you are also keeping your air conditioner clean. The dust won't get sucked down through the ducts and onto your unit. A clean air conditioner can work more efficiently. You can use the wand attachment of your vacuum to clean the first few feet of duct behind the vents pretty thoroughly.
Trim Around It
If you have plants or grass around your air conditioner, caring for those plants is an important AC maintenance task. Keep them well-trimmed so there's space around your AC unit for airflow. Consider removing plants that you can't keep trimmed consistently.
If you do these things to maintain your air conditioner, the appliance will last longer and do an even better job of keeping your home cool. Reach out to an HVAC contractor if you have any questions.