Home Improvement June 5, 2023

The 3 Step Air Conditioner Maintenance Guide


If you’re like everyone else, you depend on your air conditioner to keep your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. However, if you don’t take proper care of your air conditioner, it can break down or become less efficient. An HVAC system is one of the most expensive parts of an entire home. The average replacement cost is $5,000 – $11,000. That’s why it’s important to perform regular air conditioner maintenance. In this post, we’ll go over the three steps you need to follow to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.

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#1: Replace the Air Filter

a dirty air filter next to a clean air filter

The air filter is one of the most important components of your air conditioner. It’s responsible for filtering out dust, dirt, and other particles from the air before it’s blown into your home. Over time, the air filter can become clogged with dirt and debris. This can cause your air conditioner to work harder and less efficiently.

To prevent this from happening, you should replace your air filter at least once every three months. If you have pets or live in a dusty area, you may need to replace your air filter more frequently.

To replace your air filter, first, locate the air filter compartment on your air conditioning unit. This is typically located near the return air duct. Once you have located the compartment, open it up and remove the old air filter. Take note of the size of the filter, as you will need to purchase a replacement filter of the same size.

Once you have your replacement filter, slide it into the compartment. Make sure that it is properly aligned with the arrows on the filter. Close the compartment and turn on your air conditioner. You should notice an immediate improvement in the air quality and efficiency of your air conditioning unit.

#2: Check the Condensate Line

2 air conditioner condensers on a concrete pad

Another part of air conditioner maintenance is checking the condensate line. The condensate line is responsible for removing excess moisture from your air conditioning unit. Over time, this line can become clogged with dirt and debris, which can cause water to back up into your air conditioning unit and cause damage.

To check the condensate line, first, locate the drain line on your air conditioning unit. This is typically a PVC pipe that is exiting the exterior of the home or into the garage. Once you have located the drain line, use a wet/dry vacuum to suction out any debris that may be clogging the line.

If the line is still clogged after using the vacuum, you may need to use a pipe cleaner to remove any remaining debris. Once the line is clear, if you have a removable cap near the start of the drain line, pour a cup of bleach or vinegar down the drain line to kill any bacteria or mold that may be growing inside the line.

#3: Clean the Condenser

person using a water hose to clean the inside of an air conditioner condenser

The condenser is the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system. It is responsible for removing heat from the refrigerant and releasing it into the outdoor air. Over time, the condenser can become clogged with dirt and debris, which can cause your air conditioning unit to work harder and less efficiently. The condenser should be cleaned 1 – 2 times each year.

To clean the condenser, first, turn off the power to your air conditioning unit. This can typically be done by switching off the circuit breaker that controls your air conditioning unit. Once the power is off, use a shop vacuum remove any debris from around the unit, such as leaves, grass, or dirt.

Next, use a coil cleaner to spray the condenser fins on the inside and out.  Let the cleaner work for 5 – 15 minutes, and then use a garden hose to rinse the condenser fins from the inside out. Be sure to use a gentle stream of water, as high pressure can damage the fins. If the fins are bent, you may need to use a fin comb to straighten them out and improve airflow.


Performing regular air conditioner maintenance is essential if you want it to work efficiently and last for many years. By following these three simple steps, you can keep your air conditioner running smoothly and avoid costly repairs. Remember to replace the air filter, check the condensate line, and clean the condenser regularly. If you do these things, you’ll be able to enjoy a cool and comfortable home all summer long.