When it comes to home maintenance, there few household chores that will offer as big a value as maintaining your air conditioner unit. To start, air conditioner maintenance helps to ensure that the machine runs as efficiently as possible, and this will save electricity. Furthermore, air conditioner maintenance can prevent breakdowns that will cost money in repairs and it can extend the life of the unit.

While there are several things that can be done to maintain an air conditioner and keep it in good working order, there are some simple steps that take very little effort. By keeping on this basic maintenance, you can increase the life of the machine, save money on repairs and add years to the life of the unit.


Maintaining the filter for the home HVAC system is one of the most basic steps in air conditioner maintenance, and it is also one of the most important. The filter on the home HVAC system collects dust and debris that may enter the system. This protects the components of the machine, and with some filters, it removes contaminants from the air.

If the filter is clogged, it will restrict the airflow to the air conditioner, and this will force the system to work harder. The additional strain on the system will cost the machine in efficiency and it will put added wear on the components. During the high usage season, the filter needs to be changed or cleaned once a month.

Remove obstructions from air return

The air return is the main source of air for the unit. If the air return is blocked or obstructed, it will impact the efficiency of the air conditioner. In many homes, people will mistakenly place furniture in front of the air return without realizing the impact that it has on efficiency. If there is anything obstructing the flow of air to the return grill, it needs to be moved. As an additional point, you want to make sure that all of the registers are clear and free of obstructions.

Clean the outdoor unit

While an air conditioner is built to exist in an outdoor environment, the dirt and debris that can collect over time will affect the operation of the machine. Things like falling leaves, lawnmower clipping and simple dirt and grime can reduce efficiency.

Every month or so, you can go outside to see how clean the unit is and to make sure that it free from obstructions. If it is dirty, you can just hose it down to make sure that all of the grills are clear. Additionally, you want to make sure that the outdoor unit is unobstructed. If there are any bushes or shrubs that have grown up around the unit, you should trim them away. You also want to make sure that you have not placed any items near the air conditioner. Air needs to be able to easily flow from the unit for it to operate efficiently.

Yearly tune-up and inspection

If you have the tools and the knowhow, this might be a job that you could do on your own, but it is more likely that you will need to hire a professional to come out for the yearly tune up and inspection. At the beginning of the usage season, your air conditioner should be inspected on several points and it should get a thorough cleaning. This will ensure that it is running to its optimal performance, prevent breakdowns and it can be the difference between catching a problem early and having the machine breakdown on a hot summer day.

When a professional comes out for the yearly maintenance, they will check several components on the machine to make sure they are working as they should, they will test the refrigerant levels, check the system for leaks and they will give the coils a thorough cleaning.

If you want your air conditioner to perform reliably and you want to get the most from the unit before it needs to be replaced, these simple air conditioner maintenance steps will go a long way. This maintenance requires little effort and the investment of cash will return in the form of reduced utility bills and a longer operating life.