Routine Central Air Cooling System Maintenance Tasks Worth Doing

I live in the southeast so having a fully operational, central air cooling and heating system is both a blessing and a necessity. As such, my husband and I take great pains to make sure that ours is in proper working order. We have found that keeping a routine maintenance schedule for our central air system tends to head off any problems as well as helps keep our electric bill from climbing unnecessarily. With the summer months upon us, I thought that I would share what routine maintenance tasks we find worthwhile. Here they are:


Each week my husband inspects the outside of our central heating and cooling system. He examines the area around the condensing unit in order to make sure that coils are clean and clear. We find that it is important to do this because built-up dirt and debris can block the fan blades as well as reduce the unit’s efficiency.

In the south, we have to really worry about climbing vines like kuduz. If left unchecked, the vines will quickly overtake everything in their path, including an air conditioner’s coils. If he finds any plant growth around the condensing unit, he removes it. He also sprays down the coils routinely with a garden hose to remove any dust, pollen or other debris.


Depending on where you live, you may want to check your central air conditioning unit’s drip pan and drain tube at least twice a month. We like to check ours at least that often because the high humidity and heat in our area allows mold to form quickly. The mold can block the drain tube, which can eventually cause damage to the inside of the air conditioning unit. Furthermore, standing water left in a drain pan is a magnet for mosquitoes and other water loving bugs that may decide to take up residence in or around your air conditioning unit if you are not vigilant about keeping the area clean.


I would also suggest that you replace your central air cooling system’s filter once a month or per as needed. In my experience, a dirty air filter can reduce an air conditioner’s effectiveness and thereby increase your cooling bill. The pollen count can get quite high in our area, so sometimes we need to change the filter more often. We already know from experience that if we wake up one too many mornings to a yellow pollen coated car that we are going to need to change the air conditioning filter more than once that month.


Before the start of each summer, we will check the refrigerant level as well as run a system test. In order to run the system test, we’ll turn the system off and on and check for odd noises and leaks. We will also check the fan motor, fan blades, blower and electrical components. Sometimes a few of the parts will need to be lubricated or replaced. Based on my experience, it is better to take care of those things before the start of summer rather than wait until things heat up. There is nothing worse than having to spend the day in 100 degree heat without an air conditioner. Trust me on that one.

Killeen Gonzalez’s home has a central heating and cooling system. She and her husband have a history of completing home maintenance tasks.

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