Atlas AC Repair, LLC

DIY Maintenance: 6 Things Every Homeowner Should Be Doing For Their AC

Add 5 years of life to your home Air Conditioner with the following DIY practices

There are a few best DIY maintenance practices that a homeowner can do to save hundreds of dollars in repairs while increasing the useful life of the central AC and furnace by another 5 years. 

If your AC is over 10 years old…then number 6 could really save you some money.

1. Clean your outdoor AC unit

  •  Clean your outdoor AC unit
    • Remove any plants 
    • Wash with a water hose

If your outdoor AC unit is dirty or has a lot of vegetation growing on it, you will want to clean it off. The way your AC unit cools your home and keeps you comfortable is by converting the outdoor temperature into cold air. It does this by blowing air through the outdoor coils. If these coils are dirty, they can no longer efficiently exchange the outdoor temperature into cool air. This forces your AC unit to run harder and longer to cool your home. It’s always a good practice to clean your outdoor AC unit a few times a year, clearing away any vegetation and spraying off any dirt you see on the AC unit.

2. Clear your drain line

HVAC drain line
  • Add vinegar to your AC drain line a few times a year.
There are two reasons you need to keep your AC drain line clear: to prevent water damage or to avoid tripping a safety switch.
Your air conditioner generates water in the process of cooling your home. As the drain pan collects the water, the drain line beneath carries the water outside the home. When that drain line clogs with debris or microbial growth, the water produced by your AC suddenly has nowhere to go. With the drain backed up, the drain pan will eventually overflow, allowing the excess water to damage drywall and other items nearby. We see this happen more than a dozen times a year, and it can be prevented by adding vinegar or bleach into the drain line a few times a year.

We get a lot of calls every year about an air conditioner not turning on. In many cases, we find that a safety switch has been tripped. City code requires that safety switches be installed on a new air conditioner system. When the drain line gets backed up, the safety switch is triggered to turn off the AC system before any water damage occurs. Most people, at this point, think their air conditioner needs repair, but it’s just a clogged drain. Clearing it out allows the air conditioner to start working again.

HVAC drain line and switch

3. Change your Filters

  • Change your filters 1x a month.
  • If you have furry pets, change your filters 2x a month.

Most people understand that AC filters should be changed on a routine basis. However, most people don’t realize just how much damage clogged filters cause to our air conditioning and heating systems. When filters routinely get too dirty and clogged, the unnecessary stress added to your system causes things to break over time. Not only does this result in more repairs to keep your system running, but it can also reduce the useful life of your AC by 5 to 10 years.

It’s easy to forget filter changes. Out of sight, out of mind. We recommend setting a reminder on your phone or smart thermostat or set up with a monthly filter subscription and have new filters delivered right to your home.

4. Preset your Thermostat

  • Adjust your thermostat for when you are away from your home.
    • Summer – 85 degrees
    • Winter – 60 degrees

Many working homeowners are away from their homes during the hottest part of the day. If no one is home, why put the extra demand on your air conditioner? When no one is home, set your AC at 85 degrees in the summer and 60 degrees in the winter. Preset your thermostat to adjust the temperature back to where you like it one hour before you get home. This will help increase the life of your AC, lower your electric bill, and the best part is you won’t notice a difference.

5. Use your window shades

woman closing window blinds on sunny day
  •  Close your window shades and blinds during the hottest part of the day. 
Many people are unaware that windows uncovered by blinds or shades can let in a considerable amount of heat during the summer. If you have a home with many windows not covered with blinds, they can be adding a lot of heat into your home, putting a significant demand on your AC. This will eventually lead to your air conditioner wearing out sooner than it should.

We understand few people want to sit in a dark and gloomy home. Keep the blinds closed in the unoccupied rooms and open the window blinds in the room you are using.

6. Schedule Annual Maintenance

  • If your AC is over 10 years old, have an HVAC company, like Atlas AC Repair, perform an annual tune-up.

Once your system gets over ten years old, you’re going to want to start considering routine maintenance from a trusted HVAC company. Everyday use puts unforeseen wear and tear on your AC and heater. An inexpensive component working incorrectly can cause more expensive parts to fail. When your AC and furnace starts to age, you need a technician to look through all the electrical components, freon, and temperature splits to help prevent any major unnecessary problems.