According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning accounts for as much as 50 percent of the average summer household electric bill; and dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. Proper maintenance will help keep your electric bill in check and save you even more money by extending the unit’s life.
Why should I give my A/C some TLC?About: Air conditioner energy use
Clean itAbout: How to clean your A/C unit to save
Give your air conditioner a good do-it-yourself cleaning. Shut the unit off, and clear away leaves and yard debris around the outdoor condenser. Trim foliage back at least two feet to allow for adequate airflow. Dust the fan blades if you can do so safely. Clean the evaporator coil in the indoor unit and the condenser coil in the outdoor unit as necessary. Vacuum registers inside your home to remove any dust buildup.
Maintain itAbout: How to maintain your A/C unit to save
The most important maintenance task to ensure air conditioner efficiency is to replace or clean the filters every month or two during the cooling season. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and significantly reduce a system’s efficiency. Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. Check your owner’s manual to find out if your system’s filters are reusable or must be replaced.
Tune it upAbout: Hiring a professional
Proper maintenance by a qualified technician is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future equipment problems. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Be sure to do your research and hire a well-trained technician who will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system. Look at the checklist on the right for more information.