With proper regular maintenance, your AC will work the way it is supposed to, for as long as it is supposed to, saving you money and preventing problems.

The U.S. Department of Energy lists the ways you can maintain your air conditioner and keep it running efficiently:

Clean or replace AC filters regularly

  • Clean/replace filters every 1-2 months during cooling seasons
  • Clean/replace filters more often if: AC is in constant use, it’s in dusty conditions, or you have furry pets indoors

*This is the quickest way to save energy on home cooling and can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Check AC coils yearly

  • Over time, the evaporator coil will collect dirt. Check the coil every year and clean it when necessary.
  • Check outdoor condenser coils and clean/remove any dirt, debris, and leaves.

Check for bent coil fins

  • It is good to check the aluminum fins on the evaporator and condenser coils because they are easily bent and can block airflow.
  • If they are bent, buy a “fin comb” tool to comb and straighten the fins back to normal.

Condensate drains

  • Prevent clogs from building up by occasionally passing a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels. This will enable the unit to properly reduce humidity the way it should.

Inspect window seals for room ACs

  • Inspect the seal between the AC and the window frame (it should make contact with the unit’s metal case). The seal can be damaged by moisture so check the seal every cooling season to make sure cool air isn’t escaping.

Protect ACs in the winter

  • If you have a room AC, cover it or remove and store it. If you have a central AC, cover the outdoor unit to protect it from winter weather and debris.

Hire a professional

  • If your AC isn’t working properly and can’t be fixed by regular maintenance, call a professional service technician.

Visit the DOE’s energy saver site and infographic for more information about AC maintenance, common AC problems, tips for lowering cooling costs, the pros and cons of different ACs, and more.