Summer is rolling in, and with it comes the sweltering heat that makes us all grateful for our air conditioning units. There’s nothing quite like stepping into a cool, refreshing home after a long day under the blazing sun. But here’s the thing—your AC unit won’t maintain that perfect chill on its own. It needs a little TLC to keep running smoothly and efficiently.

How to Maintain Your AC Unit for Peak Performance

Understanding Your AC Unit

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of maintenance, it helps to know a bit about how your AC unit works. Essentially, your air conditioner is a complex machine designed to cool the air inside your home by removing heat and humidity. It comprises several key components:

  • Evaporator Coil: Absorbs heat and humidity from the air inside your home.
  • Condenser Coil: Releases the absorbed heat outside.
  • Compressor: Pumps the refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser coils.
  • Fan: Circulates the cool air inside your home and expels warm air outside.
  • Refrigerant: The liquid that absorbs and releases heat as it circulates through the coils.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what makes your AC tick, let’s move on to the good stuff—maintenance tips! Of course, if you notice any issues, contact professionals like Milestone Electric, A/C, & Plumbing sooner rather than later. You don’t want to make the issue worse and more expensive to fix!

Act Quick Signs That You Need An AC Repair Sooner Rather Than Later
RELATED: Act Quick: Signs That You Need An AC Repair Sooner Rather Than Later

Regular Maintenance Checklist

1. Clean or Replace Air Filters

Your AC’s air filters are the first line of defence against dust, dirt, and allergens. Over time, these filters can get clogged, reducing airflow and making your unit work harder. This not only decreases efficiency but can also lead to higher energy bills.

How Often? Check your filters monthly and clean or replace them every 1-3 months, depending on usage and the type of filter.

How to Do It? Turn off your AC, remove the filter, and either wash it with soap and water or replace it with a new one. Ensure it’s completely dry before reinserting.

2. Inspect and Clean the Coils

Both the evaporator and condenser coils can accumulate dirt over time. This dirt reduces the coils’ ability to absorb and release heat, leading to decreased efficiency.

How Often? Annually.

How to Do It? Turn off the power to your AC unit. For the evaporator coil (usually inside), gently brush away any dust. For the condenser coil (outside), use a hose to remove dirt and debris, being careful not to bend the fins.

3. Check the Refrigerant Level

Low refrigerant levels can severely affect your AC’s performance and efficiency. If you notice your home isn’t cooling as it should, this might be the culprit.

How Often? Annually or if you notice a performance drop.

How to Do It? This is best left to professionals. They can check for leaks and recharge the refrigerant safely.

4. Clear the Drain Line

The drain line removes the moisture your AC unit collects. Over time, it can get clogged with algae and mould, leading to water damage and increased humidity levels inside your home.

How Often? Every few months.

How to Do It? Locate the drain line (usually a PVC pipe), use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any clogs, and flush it with a mixture of water and vinegar.

5. Inspect the Ductwork

Leaky ducts can let cool air escape, reducing efficiency and cooling effectiveness. Regular inspections can prevent this.

How Often? Annually.

How to Do It? Check for visible leaks or damage. Seal any gaps with duct tape or mastic sealant.

HVAC Troubleshooting Tips You Need To Try ASAP
RELATED: HVAC Troubleshooting Tips You Need To Try ASAP

Tips for Year-Round Efficiency

Keep the Area Around Your Unit Clear

Ensure there’s at least a two-foot clearance around your outdoor condenser unit. This allows for proper airflow and prevents debris from clogging the system.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat lets you set specific temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring your AC isn’t working harder than it needs to when you’re not home.

Schedule Professional Tune-Ups

While there’s a lot you can do on your own, having a professional HVAC technician inspect and tune up your AC unit annually can catch issues you might miss and keep your system in top shape.

Seal and Insulate Your Home

Good insulation and sealed windows and doors help keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside. This reduces the workload on your AC unit, making it more efficient.

Don't Ignore These Red Flags Signs Your HVAC is in Trouble
RELATED: Don’t Ignore These Red Flags: Signs Your HVAC is in Trouble

Quick Troubleshooting Guide

Even with the best maintenance, sometimes things go awry. Here are a few quick fixes for common AC issues:

  • AC Not Cooling? Check the thermostat settings, ensure the air filter is clean, and inspect the outdoor unit for debris.
  • Unit Turning On and Off Frequently? This could be due to a dirty air filter, low refrigerant, or an oversized unit. Check and clean the filter, and if the problem persists, call a professional.
  • Water Leaking? Clear the drain line and ensure the unit is level. If the leak continues, it might be a refrigerant issue or a more serious problem requiring professional attention.
  • Strange Noises? Rattling or buzzing noises can indicate loose parts, while grinding or squealing might mean a motor issue. Turn off the unit and call a professional if you hear unusual sounds.


Maintaining your AC unit is all about regular attention and a bit of elbow grease. By following these tips, you can ensure your air conditioner runs efficiently, keeping you cool and comfortable all summer long. Plus, a well-maintained AC unit lasts longer and saves you money on energy bills and costly repairs. So, roll up your sleeves, give your AC some love, and enjoy the perfect chill!

Things to Look for When You Want to Buy a Commercial HVAC
RELATED: Things to Look for When You Want to Buy a Commercial HVAC

*Don’t forget to download my #FREE Lifestyle APP Live a Well-Designed Life