Summer is almost here… is your home’s air conditioning and ventilation system ready? You may not have used your air conditioning for the past few months during the colder winter weather, but those months of inactivity can take their toll. Here are some relatively simple steps you can take to make sure that your air conditioning is in tip-top shape and ready to tackle the hot weather to come.

One very easy thing to do that will prepare your AC for summer is to change the air filter inside your home. Filters should be changed approximately every three months. If you have pets or allergies, you’ll probably want to change them more regularly — every forty-five to sixty days. Make sure that you check your current filter so that you purchase the correct size to replace it!

Another simple step is to do a quick check of the outdoor components of the air conditioning unit. Check for any debris that may be stuck to or trapped on the condenser, and check for dirt and grass cuttings that can build up and block air flow. If you find built-up dirt or gunk on the condenser, it’s best to use a specialized air conditioning cleaner. In a pinch, you can also use the spray nozzle on a water hose. Make sure that shrubs and grasses are not overgrown around the sides of the unit; if they are, mow or prune them. While you’re cleaning the unit, check it to see if it’s visibly leaking oil or other fluids. If it is leaking, you may need help from a professional.

Not every home has easy access to the air conditioner’s evaporator coils. But if you can get to the evaporator coils without too much trouble, check them for rust or damage. Clean any dust or dirt off of the coils using the hose attachments on your vacuum cleaner. If the coils are rusty or damaged, they’ll need to be replaced.

Even when taking these simple steps to maintain your home’s air conditioner, you may still be overdue for a professional tune-up. Just as you would take your car in for servicing on a periodic basis or go to a mechanic if it’s not running properly, a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician can do more the more difficult tasks required to keep your AC working properly. He or she can also repair problems and malfunctions.

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