I know there’s still snow on the branches and ice in your driveway, so your air conditioner is probably the farthest thing from your mind. Don’t keep it on the back burner, though, or you may find yourself in hot water, or rather hot air.
Okay, puns aside, it really is important that you do a maintenance check on your A/C unit before you actually need it. It’s easier than you think. Here are a few tips on how to give a standard outdoor unit a once-over.
- Cut the Power: Turn the breaker box switch off for your A/C unit and test the power source to ensure it’s off prior to any cleaning. Those fan blades are no joke.
- Clean It Up: Trim back any nearby foliage or flowers. Clear away any leaves or debris and do what you can to remove as much outside dirt as possible. A brush attachment on a Shop-Vac works well, or a light spray from the hose. DO NOT use a pressure washer—it could cause damage.
- Test It Out: Once it’s cleaned up, restore the power and give it a quick test. This is easier with two people, one outside at the unit, and the other at the thermostat to turn on the A/C. That way if anything seems off, it’s a quick tap to turn it off, rather than having to run back inside.
For more in-depth DIY maintenance of your A/C unit, check out this article on the DIY Network.
There are occasions when hiring a professional is the way to go, such as performing an in-depth tune up, or if it is malfunctioning of course. If you’re unable to perform these steps on your own or if it has been a while since its last tune up, you may want to consider scheduling a visit. Experts recommend tune-ups on an annual basis, typically in the spring.
Not everyone is the handy type, but you don’t have to be for some basic maintenance. It’s worth more than just keeping your machine running longer and more smoothly—it also helps prevent a larger hit to your wallet. Just pick a day sometime in the next couple of weeks when it’s not raining or snowing, and get it done. Trust me, it’s worth it.
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