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Central Air Conditioning Maintenance

Your air conditioning system must be kept clean in order to cool your home efficiently. Cottonwood fuzz, grass, leaves, and dust can accumulate on the coils of your air conditioner causing it to work harder and wear out sooner.

Time Needed: 30 minutes
Frequency: At least 2 times per year summer
Number of steps: 5
Tools you might need: safety glasses or goggles, garden hose with spray nozzle, toothbrush, rake, pruning snips
Skill level: easy
What if I don’t do this? Higher energy bills, decreased cooling efficiency, higher repair costs, shorter appliance life

Step 1: Locate Appliance

Locate and inspect outdoor air conditioning unit (condenser).

Step 2: Plan Ahead For Maintenance

Assemble the tools that you will need and create a safe workspace.

Step 3: Keep It Clean

Turn off power to the air conditioning system. Clear away obstructions and clean debris from the appliance. Prune away excess plant growth. Use garden hose with spray attachment spraying from the top of the coils down. Spraying downward will help wash any dirt or debris to the ground. For stubborn spots use a toothbrush to gently brush debris from the coils.

  • Important! Avoid damaging coils! They are very delicate. 
  • Always contact a qualified service company if you suspect problems

Step 4: Inspect For Problems

Inside your home, locate condensate drain line. Be sure to keep this area clear and the drain line clean. When your air conditioner is operating it removes moisture from the air which must be allowed to flow freely to a drain or condensate pump. Inspect around furnace for condensate leaks.

  • Evaporator coil. Evaporator coils should stay clean if furnace filters are replaced regularly.
  • If an evaporator coil must be cleaned, it should be done by a qualified professional.

Step 5: More Information

The furnace air filter must also be changed during the air conditioning season.  See also: Forced Air Furnace Maintenance


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This website offers suggestions for how you should properly maintain and operate your home. However, you should always refer to your builder warranty, maintenance and homeowner manual documents for the specific operation and maintenance requirements for your individual home and its equipment.