Air Conditioner Maintenance Guide for Homeowners


When your air conditioner is running smoothly, you may not give it much thought. But, trust me when I tell you, the moment your system stops blowing cold air, freezes up, struggles to heat or cool your home, or breaks down completely, it becomes one of the most urgent and important things in your life. (And it always seems to happen on weekends and holidays, am I right?)

Your HVAC system is a big investment and heating and cooling costs account for the biggest portion of monthly energy costs. In some regions, especially during the hottest summer months, air conditioning could account for nearly half of your electric bill. To keep cooling costs in check, keep your system running efficiently, and prolong the life of your air conditioner, regular and routine maintenance is a must.


Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist for Homeowners:

A neglected air conditioner begins losing efficiency at a rate of about 5% each year that it’s not serviced or properly maintained. That means if you haven’t had any ac maintenance performed on your HVAC unit in one year, it’s only working at about 95% efficiency. After two years, 90%. Three years, 85%, and so on.

Fortunately, in addition to professional maintenance, there are a number of ways you can help to keep your ac unit running efficiently.

Change your air conditioner filter regularly. 

Standard filters should typically be changed or cleaned once monthly. But, if you have pets that shed a lot, you may need to change filters more often. During hotter months when your air conditioner runs continuously, you may need to change filters more frequently, too. Make a habit of regularly checking your filters and changing them as needed. If you don’t have a replacement filter on hand, make getting one a priority. Do not run your HVAC system without a proper filter in place. In addition to improving indoor air quality, a clean air filter will help to keep your ac unit running efficiently.

Keep all air vents and registers open. 

In hotter months, it may be tempting to close vents in unused rooms of your home so that the rooms you spend the most time in will cool faster. In truth, closing vents will do the exact opposite and could cause your air conditioner to shut down completely. Closing vents offsets your system’s balance and creates pressure in ducts which, in turn, cause your system to work harder. The increased pressure in ducts can cause leaks. And, because the interior walls of your home aren’t insulated, when those unused rooms heat up, they’ll heat neighboring rooms which will, again, cause your air conditioner to work harder.

Clean drain lines with vinegar or bleach water.

Clogged condensate drain lines can quickly shut down your HVAC system. As part of your regular home maintenance, flush drain lines with distilled white vinegar or a mixture of bleach and water to kill any mold, mildew, algae, bacteria, and fungi and prevent a clog-causing buildup.

Cleaning drain lines is easy. Start by turning off your air conditioner, both at the thermostat and at the breaker. Then, locate your condensate drain line. Remove the cap and slowly pour about a cup of vinegar into the drain line through the opening where the cap was removed. Let the vinegar or bleach water sit in the drain line for about a half hour, then flush the pipe with water. For best results, clean your drain lines monthly.


Use blackout curtains or blinds in windows that get direct sunlight. 

Using light-blocking curtains or blinds in rooms that get direct sunlight will reduce the amount of light, heat, and UV rays that enter-and heat up-your home. Rather than forcing your air conditioner to face off against the heat of the sun, close the curtains. You’ll reduce your overall energy costs and put less stress on your HVAC system in the process.

Keep plants cut back, away from your ac condenser unit.

Outdoor air conditioning condenser units aren’t exactly cute, but hiding them behind a wall of plants or shrubs could create a situation much uglier. Your condenser needs adequate airflow on all sides in order to function properly. If you insist on hiding your condenser, keep plants, shrubs, fencing, or trellises at least 3-feet from the ac unit.

Keep your condenser clear of leaves, dirt, and debris. 

When your condenser moves air, leaves, grass, pollen, dirt, and debris can get stuck in and around the unit. If debris is allowed to build up on and around the condenser, it can significantly restrict airflow. At best, your unit won’t run as efficiently. At worst, you could be faced with catastrophic failure of your entire air conditioning system. Make a habit of inspecting your condenser every week or so and use a garden hose sprayer or lawn blower to clear debris away.

Professional HVAC maintenance is essential, too!

Manufacturers know that improper maintenance of your heating and cooling system could cut your air conditioner’s lifespan in half. Because of this, most will require regular HVAC maintenance performed by a licensed technician air conditioner service provider for warranties to remain valid. 

Homeowners in Baker, Crestview & Niceville, Florida can trust their air conditioner maintenance service to AC by DC LLC. Licensed technicians will visit twice a year to perform a full inspection to diagnose any potential issues with your system before they become major problems. During a professional ac maintenance visit, the technician will clean or replace filters as necessary, check that your thermostat is operating properly, flush condensate drain, lubricate moving parts, clean the condenser unit, clean accessible evaporator coil, check electrical connections, check refrigerant pressures, and clean drains, pans, and pumps. 

Regular air conditioner maintenance will improve your home’s air quality, prolong the life of your ac system, and save on energy and repair costs.