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Time to check your AC system; proper maintenance will enhance its performance, save you money

5/2/2016 1:00:43 PM

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are right around the corner, so it’s time to make sure your air conditioning (AC) system is working efficiently. Proper maintenance of your air conditioner will improve its safety and performance, reduce energy use and electric costs, and prolong the life of your system.

AC systems should be inspected once a year. Contractors will be very busy in the summer months, so it’s best to book a tune-up now before you actually need air conditioning. A typical central AC system tune-up will cover a list of tasks, both inside and outside, such as:

  • Inspect motors, wiring, and refrigerant lines;
  • Inspect and clean evaporator coil and condensate lines; and
  • Remove debris and lubricate as needed.
Additionally, there are many things that homeowners can do to help keep their AC system operating efficiently:
  • As with the furnace, air filters need to be changed per manufacturer’s recommendations. Restricted airflow can cause the evaporator coil to freeze up, reducing efficiency and potentially damaging components.
  • The area around the outside unit must be kept free of foliage or anything that can block airflow to the unit.
  • The coils on the outside unit can get clogged from leaves, dust, or other debris, thus reducing efficiency. Periodically spraying with a hose can help ensure proper operation.
  • Window AC units require filters to be cleaned, drain lines to be clear and held away from siding, and proper sealing between the window and the unit.
  • Ductless and high velocity systems also have filters that need cleaning or replacing.

Ask your AC contractor to review what types of maintenance you can perform safely on your system, and have him or her walk you through those. AC system tune-ups can be arranged through local heating, ventilation and AC contractors in your area. 

For more information on home cooling, check out the Minnesota Department of Commerce Home Energy Guide (pdf) or the U.S. Department of Energy’s webpage on Home Cooling Systems.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.


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