Air Conditioning Maintenance: Your Spring and Fall Checklist

In seasonal climates, HVAC maintenance should be done twice per year, and it should be done on each system separately (furnace, air conditioner, water heater, etc.). This maintenance consists of checking all the usual functions and elements as well as preparing the various equipment for the months ahead. In the case of your AC unit, the list includes things like covering and uncovering the outside unit (with a tarp or special AC cover).

To make it easier to follow, we’ve divided the list into two parts:

  • Spring maintenance, to prep the system for summer use
  • Fall maintenance, to prep your AC for a dormant winter (and from the nasty winter weather!)

Here’s what you need to know.

Spring Air Conditioning Maintenance

In the spring, it’s tempting just to crank the AC on that first hot day and hope for the best. However, it’s much better if you first perform maintenance and clean the system so that it can operate at maximum capacity from the start. That includes the items on the checklist below.

  • Clean around the condenser, removing any excess debris, weeds, plants, etc.
  • Clean the condenser itself (carefully)
  • Make sure the condenser is level on the pad
  • Clean the evaporator coil and drain
  • Change your air filter
  • Turn off the water supply to the humidifier on the furnace

In addition to these DIY tasks, you should also have a professional air conditioning maintenance technician:

  • Check for leaks (refrigerant, ducts, system)
  • Test airflow
  • Test electronic functions
  • Service belts and the motor
  • Test the thermostat
  • Inspect, clean, and tighten all connectors and terminals

If you keep these items on the list, you can ensure a comfortable summer with an air conditioning unit that works properly all year long.

Fall Air Conditioning Maintenance

In the fall, it’s time to get the unit ready for the incoming winter months. It’s not going to be used, so you’ll want to clean it up and get it ready to hibernate until spring. This includes the following maintenance tasks.

  • Change your air filter
  • Remove all dirt and debris from around the condenser
  • Make sure the indoor handler and evaporator are clean and free of debris
  • Dust all your vents (this should be done as part of regular cleaning, too)
  • Get a cover or tarp for the condenser

This is another good time to have the professionals come out and check for:

  • Safety issues
  • Leaks in the system
  • Thermostat issues
  • Electrical issues

Most companies offer maintenance packages that include all the maintenance that you’ll need in a year to keep your home comfortable and your air conditioner running smoothly.

Final Thoughts

A good air conditioner requires proper maintenance and care, both from you and from the professionals, occasionally. Make sure that you take care of your unit and keep it maintained for optimal operation. This cuts down on the need for repairs and early replacements and keeps you apprised of how your system is functioning all year long.


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