Air Conditioning: Time for Maintenance (and Cleaning!)

air conditioner cleaning maintenance

We certainly live for procrastination–but don’t tell our children. We lecture them enough about it. The end of summer, though, presents a real dilemma. We could put off doing some important cleaning with our air conditioners. Except we also procrastinate about getting the air conditioning ready, and we don’t have to do a lot of things before getting some relief when we’re surprised by the first hot stretch next year.  [photo via wikimedia]

So we’re going to accept that we need to get ready this Labor Day weekend with keeping our air conditioning system in tip-top shape. It’s not a fun list of things to do, but pretty vital–especially if you’ve ever had to get central air conditioning repaired…

Change the filter: Nothing complicated here. We can’t promise that we’ve changed out the filter every other month–which is what’s recommended for heavy use. That’s for if you have pets, or things like that. But we do it often enough to feel responsible and like we’re saving money with the maintenance. And we actually kind of enjoying washing out and replacing the filters in window units.

Clean the coils: You have to protect your outside unit. There’s all kinds of leaves, grass, and other outdoorsy things accumulating all around it. There’s only going to be more leaves in the coming months, too. Also make sure that your hedges, plants, or anything else hasn’t grown up enough to be an obstruction to the air flow. We understand wanting to hide the unit, but that kind of thing should be at least a foot away from it all. You can use a broom to clean out the interior, or a garden hose. Don’t use a pressure washer, though. And, of course, clean out your window units in the same way.


Remember to program your thermostat: Take advantage of that technology to save money. Set the thermostat to be slightly higher when people are out of the house, and then slightly lower when people are back. We mean, for those late summer days. Set your heating the same way for later, too. This will keep the energy bills low. It also make for less of a strain on your air conditioning/heating system.

And don’t rule out getting a cooling system tune up next Spring. It’s a smart way to make sure nothing has accumulated again over the winter months, and a good technician will likely save you money by checking the seals in the windows. For now, though, we’re off to do the usual–early, for a change…