Schedule maintenance for your central AC

Why? Your central air conditioner will use more energy than necessary if it is not properly maintained. In addition to saving energy, maintaining your air conditioner will help the system last longer.
Professional option: A contractor can do more extensive maintenance work. A professional technician will inspect, clean, and tune up the outdoor condenser and the indoor air handling unit. 

Do-it-yourself option: You may be able to perform routine AC maintenance on your own. Here's how: 

Step by step:

  1. Regularly check your filter. Check your air filter every one to three months and clean or replace it as needed. Keeping the filter clean can save 5-15% of the air conditioner's energy costs.
  2. Clear the nearby area of debris. If your air conditioning unit is outdoors, be sure to remove any nearby debris on a regular basis. Trim foliage back at least two feet from the unit to allow for adequate airflow.
  3. Comb the coil fins. Evaporator and condenser coils have fins that can block the airflow through the coil if they are out of shape. You may want to invest in a "fin comb" to put fins back into their correct position and condition.
  4. Clean the evaporator coil and outdoor condenser coil. You should check them at least once a year. You can clean the outdoor condenser with outdoor coil cleaner solution and a garden hose. Be sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before beginning!
  5. Cover. During the off-season, when your central AC is not in use, cover the outdoor unit so it is protected from dirt and debris. 

Added benefit: Air filters in your air conditioner can help eliminate air contaminants and improve air quality in your home. Keeping them clean can be helpful in alleviating allergies. 

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