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As soon as the days start getting longer, most of us prepare for a familiar ritual: spring cleaning. Research suggests that a whopping 86% of U.S. adults plan to do at least some spring cleaning in 2024, with the bulk of us planning to clean in either March or April.

If you count yourself in that number, don’t neglect your air conditioner! Like the rest of your home, this crucial system can use some extra TLC now and then. Following the right cleaning tips, plus a quick air conditioner maintenance checklist, can help you ensure cool air all year long. If you’re not sure where to start, here are the steps we recommend.

Change the Air Filter

Ahead of the cooling season, make sure your AC unit is prepared by checking and changing the air filter. A fresh filter enhances your indoor air quality and helps your system efficiently circulate clean air.

This isn’t a one-and-done spring cleaning task! You should also aim to change your air filter at least once every 30 to 90 days while your system is in use.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

Your evaporator coil is a crucial component of your system. It also needs regular cleaning to do its job! If enough dust or debris builds on its surface, you may run the risk of poor performance or even frozen coils, which can wreak havoc with your system.

To clean these AC coils, you’ll need to open the access panel inside your indoor air handler unit.

You can clean them using a vacuum, a solution of water and mild detergent, or a professional-grade alkaline cleaning solution to remove debris and mold. A soft-bristled brush can also help.

Check the Condensate Drain Line

While you’re looking at your indoor unit, there’s another heating and cooling maintenance task to take care of: cleaning your drain line.

Check the system’s drain pan and condensate drain. If you notice any debris or mold, clean it off. You can do this with clean water and some mild liquid detergent.

If you suspect a clog or want to do some preventative HVAC maintenance, flush the drain line as well. You can use a wet/dry vac to confirm proper drainage, or you can pour a cup of bleach into the drain line for a quick flush.

This crucial part of your spring cleaning routine can prevent algae, mold, and mildew from causing a water backup. To avoid emergency calls for AC repair over your air conditioner leaking water, do this at least once a year!

Clean Vents and Registers

Your AC depends on the vents and registers throughout your home for proper circulation. Without them, your system will struggle to deliver cool air.

Make sure your vents and registers are in good condition with a thorough inspection. Check to be sure they’re open, remove any dust that has built up on their surfaces, and move furniture or possessions that may be blocking airflow.

Trim Plants and Debris

Next, check your outdoor AC unit. To keep this part of your system in good condition, trim back any plants that have grown too close in recent months. Aim to keep at least three feet of space between your system and any nearby landscaping, shrubs, or trees.

If it’s been a while since you cleaned your outdoor unit, do so now. Remove any leaf litter, twigs, or other debris from its surface and within the unit. Use a soft-bristle brush to clean the coils, let an AC coil cleaning solution sit on them for a while, then hose them down.

This is also a good time to ensure that the ground beneath your unit is still level, especially after any severe winter storms.

Additional Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist

Beyond simple cleaning, there are a few regular AC maintenance tasks you should do every spring. Adding these to your checklist can help you avoid emergency searches for “AC repair near me!”

Check Your Thermostat

Start by changing the batteries in your thermostat. You should also check the settings: make sure the system is set to “cool,” not “off.” Calibrate your system as needed according to the instructions in your owner’s manual, and ensure that it’s set to the right temperature for spring.

Tighten Electrical Connections

Loose connections can cause frustrating issues with your AC. If you have experience with electrical work and feel comfortable doing so, turn off your system and tighten its connections. If not, wait for your next AC tune-up, when a technician can do this task on your behalf.

Look for Leaks

The last thing you want is to let expensive cool air leak out of your home. Check your ductwork for gaps and leaks, and consider getting them cleaned if you suspect a buildup of dust or mold within them. Check for drafts and leaks around your windows and doors as well, and seal them with caulk or other tools.

Test Your AC

Before the days get hot this summer, test your air conditioner for proper functioning. Run your system, then walk around to do an inspection. Listen for unusual sounds, look for any obvious issues, and ensure that your AC runs for a full cycle.

Get Professional Maintenance

Getting a professional AC tune-up at least once a year is crucial. A seasoned technician can check, clean, and maintain every component in your system, ensuring that you won’t run into problems when you need your AC the most.

Clean Your System Now

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your system, be sure to follow the tips above! Doing some spring cleaning and following our air conditioner maintenance checklist can keep your unit running smoothly all season long.

When you’re ready for professional service, trust the expert team at Absolute Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning. Since 2006, our family-owned business has proudly served customers throughout Coralville, Hills, Iowa City, North Liberty, Solon, Tiffin, and beyond. To ensure that your home remains a haven of comfort this summer, reach out for service from one of our trained and licensed specialists.

(319) 552-5786