Check Your Central A/C Unit Now, Avoid a Repair Call Later

Few household maintenance routines pay off better than checking out your central air conditioning unit before the hot weather sets in. Preparing the unit for heavy duty now will not only save on energy costs, but will up your chances of staying cool all summer and avoiding an emergency service call.

Air conditioning experts suggest these routine tips for ensuring trouble-free performance:

Turn off power to the unit. Turn off the switch and unplug the unit to allow for safe handling.

Clean or replace the filter. Most likely located behind the air return grille on the wall or ceiling in a central part of the house, the air filter can accumulate dirt, dust and allergen particles over the winter months. This makes the system work harder than it needs to, and costs in terms of efficiency and utility dollars. If the filter is disposable, replace it, and keep a couple more on hand for replacement every two months during use. If the filter is reusable, clean it in a large container filled with warm water and dish soap. Then spray it with a garden hose to remove any remaining particles and let it dry before replacing it.

Clean the coils. Remove the front cover of the A/C unit outdoors. Spray some air conditioner cleaner onto the coils and allow it to work per product instructions. Then spray with a garden hose to rinse off the cleaner and use a soft rag to dry the coils.

Check the coil fins. Inspect the coils for any damage, and use a fin comb or gentle manipulation to straighten out any coils that may be bent. Be careful, because the fins are delicate and can be easily damaged if too much pressure is applied.

Replace the grille and plug in the power. Turn on the switch and get ready to enjoy a summer of trouble-free cooling.

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