Air Conditioner Preparation and Maintenance: The Basics

exterior air conditioning unit

The air conditioner has a vital role in summer. Here are the basics on how to prepare it for active duty, and for energy efficiency before summer begins.


Summer is quickly approaching, which means you’ll hang up your spring jacket and turn on the air conditioner before too long. After your air conditioner sits idle for several months each year, you’ll need to give the appliance some basic maintenance and upkeep before the temperature rises. Learn the basics how to get your air conditioner ready for keeping you cool in warmer weather.

Change the filter

Remove the old filter and note the date when you replace the filter with a new one. Ideally, you should replace the filter once per month when the unit is in constant use. If you’re also filtering for allergens and other advanced particles, you may want to replace the filter more frequently.

Test the unit

Once you’ve changed the filter, give the system a test. Switch your thermostat over to cool and lower the temperature until the unit arrives at the point where the air conditioning should kick on.

If the unit doesn’t turn on after a reasonable amount of time, make sure you haven’t tripped a breaker or turned off the power. You can try some safe troubleshooting techniques for your air conditioner, but if the unit won’t turn on and you can’t easily determine the problem, contact a service tech.

Clear the exhaust area

On your outdoor unit, locate the area where the air conditioner pulls in and expels air. You may find the spot clogged with dirt and pollen, or perhaps leaves and branches have gathered around the exhaust area. You can remove debris easily by taking out the large items by hand and washing away the rest with a hose.

Check your ducts

Start by getting a visual on the ducts in your living space. Don’t let rugs and furniture obstruct any of your air vents. If you’re still having issues with air flow, call your air conditioning techs to take a look at the duct system. The pros may suggest cleaning the duct system. If they detect a larger problem, such as mold, they may suggest more intensive work.

Install a programmable thermostat

Although making the switch from a manual thermostat to a programmable one might require a small investment and some outside help, the switch will save you money in the long run.

When you can program your thermostat, you can set your air conditioner to turn on and off at different temperature points throughout the day. If you’re at work and the kids are at school all day, you don’t need to have the cool air blasting. If you’d like to arrive home to a cool home, you can program the unit to turn on a few minutes before you usually arrive. Not only will you save energy by turning on your air conditioner only when needed, but you’ll also save money on utility bills.

Before the mercury rises

Plan ahead before the mercury rises too high by making sure your air conditioner is in peak performance. Check the unit before the weather starts to change or you might find yourself on a long summertime repair waiting list. And of course, if troubles arise beyond your scope, always consult a professional.


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