Three Fall AC Maintenance Tips

Keeping your AC in tip top shape is a task that actually begins in the fall. This is because you want to make sure you put your air conditioner to bed for the winter properly so that it is sure to fire up with no issues the following summer. The following tips will help you do just that.

Tip #1: Clean the exterior units

Start by hosing off the exterior unit on your home to remove any leaves or other debris that have collected over the summer. Pay special attention to the condenser fins, but be careful not to bend them. Next, undo the screws that old the top housing in place and remove it. You can use a shop vacuum to remove any debris that has gathered inside. Finally, check the drain hose that take condensation away from the unit. Rinse them with a dilute bleach solution to remove any algae, then blow them out with an air compressor to dry them. You don't want moisture to freeze inside of them and cause the hose to split.

Tip #2: Invest in a proper cover

You may have seen exterior AC units wrapped in tarps. Unfortunately this isn't the best way to protect your unit from winter weather. This is because moisture gets trapped under the tarp and it can't evaporate properly. Instead, get a cover that is made specifically for an AC. There are hard covers that just lay over the top. You can also get specially fitted covers that have mesh sides to allow air to circulate and dry out any moisture. If you must make your own cover, simply cut a piece of plywood slightly larger than the AC unit and lay it on top.

Tip #3: Close the registers

In many homes, the floor vents are not used for the heating system, they are only for the AC. If your home is like this, then close the registers once you turn off the AC for the season. This will prevent dust and dirt from collecting inside the registers. In turn, you won't have all that dust blow out of the registers when you turn the AC on for the first time next summer. Also, change out the filter in fall so you won't have to remember to do it when the temperatures begin to soar next summer.

It's also a good idea to schedule an annual inspection of your AC every year. Fall is a good time to do this, although you can also do it in spring. This way you catch any issues before they become a major problem.