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Jun 9 2022

How To Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Whether you have a small window unit or a large central air conditioner, doing routine maintenance is key. Regularly cleaning filters alone can reduce energy usage by 15%. To get the most out of your A/C, follow this air conditioner maintenance checklist and know when to call a professional.


Disposable filters, the kind most homeowners have, are made of polyester or cotton paper sheets. Once they’re dirty, they need to be replaced. Depending on the manufacturer, they should be replaced every two to three months.

Permanent air filters are made of metal mesh and should be cleaned every two to three months. To clean them:

  • Remove filter from the unit.
  • Use a soft brush, gentle cleanser and warm water to scrub.
  • Shake out excess water.
  • Put air filter back into position. The air flow will dry it more.

If you have pets, you may have to clean and replace filters more often.

Evaporator Coils

Inside air conditioners, there’s an evaporator that traps heat and allows cool air to circulate in your home. They’re made of coils that can trap dust and make your A/C run too hot. To avoid this problem:

  • Turn off the air conditioner unit.
  • Remove the access panel on the front of the unit to expose the coils.
  • Spray coils with a solution of a gentle cleanser and warm water.
  • Allow solution to absorb debris for five minutes.
  • Wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Do this whenever you replace the filter and no less often than every 90 days. 

Condensate Drains

A condensate drain or line is a metal or PVC pipe that allows condensation from the evaporator to escape. To find it, look for a small pipe that leads from your unit to outside. If it’s an outdoor unit, look for an exposed pipe that’s open at one end.

These drains can get clogged with mold, mildew and other contaminants. To flush the line:

  • Turn off your A/C unit.
  • Pour a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar into the line.
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Flush line with water.

Repeat this process every month.

Blower Fan

Indoor air quality is often two to five times worse than outdoors. Because a blower fan is responsible for air movement in an A/C unit, it can be a leading contributor to indoor contaminant levels. Like clogged drain lines, a dirty blower can make your air conditioner freeze or overheat.

While you can use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean it without dismantling it, you must remove it to clean it fully.

To protect the unit, you should hire a professional to do this. Call a technician if you notice abnormally loud sounds or unusually high utility costs.

When To Call an Air Conditioner Professional

While routine cleaning and maintenance can extend the life of your air conditioner, contacting a professional before problems get out of hand is vital. You may need a professional if your air conditioner:

  • Smells funny or mildewy
  • Isn’t blowing cold air
  • Makes strange sounds
  • Blows out very humid air
  • Is causing higher than normal energy bills

Van Drunen Heating and Air Conditioning of South Holland, Illinois, has been keeping homeowners cool for over 50 years. If you’re sweating over air conditioner maintenance, contact our team of air conditioner repair professionals for quick, customer-centered service.



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