Home Inspection Insights

Lawrence M. Watkins, Specsure Property Inspections

Quick and Easy Checklist to Keep Your A/C in Top Shape

ac maintenance 2


With the hot, hazy days of summer well on their way, your Western New York air conditioning better be working at its peak performance. Here’s a quick checklist you can complete yourself to ensure it is.


Give it a hearty test run.


If you haven’t had your air conditioner on for an extended period, give it a hearty test run to make sure it’s properly cooling your Buffalo-area home. Let it run for at least 30 minutes to ensure it’s up to par.


Replace or clean the air conditioner filter.


Depending on your system, you may find air conditioner filters in two locations. One may be in the air-handler or furnace cabinet, typically located inside or close to the air-inlet area. The other may be inside your house, located in the return-air registers in the ceiling, floor or behind the wall.


Replace disposable filters inside the house every one to three months. Replace or clean cabinet filters at least twice each year. Your system manual should include instructions on cleaning reusable cabinet filters.


Clean the air conditioner drain line.


As air conditioners cool off your Western New York home, they remove water from the interior air. Their condensation drain lines can become clogged with algae, resulting in a water back-up into your air conditioner unit or house.


Find the pipe where water exits outside the house or the air handler, and then have someone stand there while you pour a cup of water down the air conditioner’s access line. The speed and quantity of water that drains out through the pipe can indicate if the line is clogged.


Clogged lines can be cleaned out by sucking the clog out of the line with a wet-dry vacuum attached to the end of the pipe. Finish off the cleaning by pouring a cup of bleach through the access pipe to prevent algae growth moving forward.


Clean the exterior conditioner condenser unit.


Several steps are involved with cleaning the exterior condenser unit. The first is to shut off power at your main electrical panel and also at the disconnect box situated close to the condenser.


Make sure any foliage around the unit is cleared away and trimmed, then remove the unit’s exterior access panels and top cover. Take heed not to damage any wires if the fan is connected to the top of the unit.


Thoroughly wipe down fan blades. Use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum to clean the inside and outside of the coils. Vacuum up dust and debris accumulated inside and around the exterior of the unit.


Complete the cleaning by attaching a spray nozzle to a hose and gently spraying down the coils and overall unit.


Once your air conditioner maintenance check is complete, your system should be in good shape to keep the cool air flowing all summer long.