An air conditioner is not something you should ever take for granted. It keeps you nice and cool in those hot summer months, but won't work for long if you don't do some routine air conditioning maintenance work. See below for tips on how to keep your air conditioner in top shape.
Replace Air Filters
The air filter in your HVAC system should be changed every other month. Air filters can be found at your local hardware store or big box stores. Be sure to replace the filter with one the same size. If you aren't sure if you should change your air filter hold it up to the light and look for any light coming in through it. If you aren't able to see any light, it should be changed. A dirty air filter makes it harder for your system to get any air, which can choke your system and cause a breakdown.
Remove overgrowth around the exterior condensing unit. Landscaping and weeds can grow too closely to your unit and cause a block in the air flow to your unit. Remove the landscaping and give your unit at least a 4 foot radius all the way around for proper air flow.
Get Rid of Brush
Brush piles and other debris that you have sitting around your unit can also block air flow. Get rid of this debris and find somewhere else to store it to prevent blocking the flow of air to your unit.
Clean Your Condensing Unit
Cleaning the condensing unit can also help give proper air flow to your system. Things such as cottonwood and grass clippings can all cling to your unit. Spray down your unit with a garden hose. Then turn the power off and open the lid to the unit. Spray down the inside of the unit, spraying the coils from the inside out. Pull out any other debris inside the unit such as leaves and twigs. Also be sure to inspect the fins on the condensing unit. These fins can be very fragile, so if you have any that are bent, try to straighten then with either a fin comb or a butter knife.
Maintaining your air conditioner will help keep it in good working order and in top shape. It will cut down on the amount of service calls you'll have to make in the event of a breakdown for things that could have been prevented with some maintenance work on your part. Maintain your system and enjoy your air conditioner year after year.