“An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”

While all air conditioners need regular maintenance, residents in areas with a lot of trees nearby (especially cottonwoods) like Barrington, Palatine and Tower Lakes, or areas with dust from road or building construction, like Algonquin, Cary and Lake in the Hills, should take special care to have their A/C units cleaned and checked before the summer heat hits.  This will assure a comfortable home no matter what your outdoor thermometer registers.

For central air conditioners, some preventative maintenance can be done by the homeowner. Replacing the filter and cleaning the area around the outdoor unit, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet will allow adequate airflow around the condenser and keep the air conditioning unit running smoothly.

However, just as with furnace maintenance, air conditioners should be maintained by an HVAC technician at least once a year. During a regular “clean and check,”  an EPA-certified technician should:

  • Clean and straighten condenser coil fins
  • Inspect blower wheels
  • Check refrigeration charge
  • Replace air filter
  • Lubricate motors and bearings
  • Inspect all controls and safeties
  • Inspect relays and contactors
  • Check condensate drain to assure it is draining properly
  • Take and record temperatures and pressures
  • Check the thermostat to make sure that it is accurate

A certified technician will also be able to truthfully tell homeowners when it is time to start thinking about a new unit.  No one wants to have an air conditioner breakdown in the middle of summer when it  is 100 degrees outside.  Properly maintaining air conditioners is the best way to get the longest life out of a unit and to know when it’s time for a new unit.