Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Better Cooling and Lower Bills!

Last Updated on June 17, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster

Living in the south has a few perks.  I get to garden for 9 months out of the year.  I have discovered a love of chicken fried steak and cornbread with fresh jalapenos.  And, oddly enough, I have even come to enjoy country music.  However, the one thing I absolutely detest about living in the south is the heat.  Want to know how to get a cooler home this summer?  Need to lower electric bills?  Here are a few air conditioner maintenance tips that may help!

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Air conditioner maintenance tips for a cooler house for less money

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

Honestly, how do people survive when the out of doors feels like a giant sauna with bugs the size of small rodents?  I know how *I* survive the hell of summer heat…I live inside all summer with my air conditioner running! 

We live in a two story house with a very old air conditioner.  That means air conditioner maintenance is vital for me to keep my electric bill as low as possible. A well-tuned air conditioning system and a programmable thermostat can cut your utility bills by 30%.  If you want to save money and maximize your cooling efficiency this summer, follow these air conditioner maintenance tips.

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips


Change air conditioner filters: 

Changing your air conditioner filters is one of the most important air conditioner maintenance tips you can follow.  Clogged, dirty filters slow down air flow and increase energy usage.  Some types of air conditioner filters are reusable, while others are disposable.  Talk to your local air conditioner service provider if you cannot locate yours.

More Home Repair Tips

outdoor air conditioning units

Clean air conditioner coils: 

The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt as they do their job.  This dirt reduces airflow and reduces its ability to absorb heat. The result is an air conditioner that does not cool well and costs a lot more money to run.  Clean the coils yearly.

What can you  use to clean AC coils?Just mix warm water and a simple detergent in a spray bottle, hand sprayer or garden sprayer. Apply the water and detergent solution to the evaporator coils.  Let sit for a few minutes and wipe away the loose material with a soft cloth or brush.  You can also use compressed air in a can or an air compressor to blow off the debris.  You can also try using air conditioner coil cleaner

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

Remove debris from around the outdoor unit:

Central air conditioners  have an outdoor condenser unit.  Make sure there is no debris blocking the unit from proper air flow.

Clear the condensate drain: 

Years ago, our air conditioner condensate drain became blocked and we ended up with a HUGE pool of water under the air conditioner.  Unfortunately, it also overflowed the drainage pan and ended up seeping through my ceiling.  We learned our lesson!  Periodically clean your air conditioner condensate drain with a stiff brush or pass a small amount of dilute bleach or vinegar through the lines.


Hire Air Conditioner Maintenance Professionals

I know you want to save money and tackle a ton of air conditioner maintenance tips on your own but some things are best left to professionals.  Hire an air conditioner service technician to make sure your unit is in tip top shape.  Your service technician will be able to check for correct amount of refrigerant and detect any leaks in the system. He can also replace old belts and electrical elements as well as make sure your thermostat is accurate.

How often should you have your air conditioner serviced?  Heating and air conditioning equipment, no matter what kind you have, should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. So, do your regular air conditioner maintenance, but call in professionals regularly, too. 

air conditioner and remote control

How to Save Money on Air Conditioning

So, these air conditioner maintenance tips are vital to keep your unit in tip top shape.  And that means that you will probably lower electric bills during the summer.  But, how do you save money on air conditioning once your until is running smoothly?  

Don’t set your air conditioner quite as low at night.  Dress in lightweight pajamas and swap your comforter out for a light sheet.  You won’t even notice the warmer temperatures.  If you really need a cold bedroom, buy a window air conditioning unit rather than run the whole house unit.  You sill save yourself money in the long run.  Also, make sure none of your vents are blocked with furniture.  They can’t get the cold air to you easily if there is a couch sitting over it. 

Have any other air conditioner maintenance tips to share?


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  1. What great tips! We just bought a new house and there was so much ivy growing around the AC unit, we hired out a specialist to come in and tame it. There were vines IN the machine too!!
  2. Maintaining your air conditioner is really important. If you don't take care of it, it can end up costing you more in cooling bills.
  3. Thanks for the tips, I wasn't quite sure what proper maintenance included but this is very helpful.
  4. Our air conditioner needs fix. These are great tips.
  5. Sara Killinger says
    Our house gets incredibly hot during the summer and I rely on my air conditioner to keep me cool. My air conditioner is quite old and I have been trying to find ways to get as much mileage out of it as possible before I have to install a new one. I didn't realize that a clogged filter can slow down air flow and increase energy usage. I'll be sure to replace my air filter and hopefully it will help my air conditioner last a few more years.
  6. Jonathan Pound says
    Thanks for these tips. Living in the desert in the summer, when the AC goes out in our house, everyone gets a little grumpy. A cool house certainly helps to keep cool heads. I also like how you mention that keeping your AC in tip-top shape can save 30% on your utility bills.
  7. My air conditioner has been around for a few years. Even though it's been working great so far, I'm trying to start doing some preventative maintenance to keep the unit healthy. I'm sorry that your condensate drain became plugged one year! Can you explain how I can access this drain and clean it out? I'd hate for my air conditioner to become flooded as well.
    • There should be a tube coming out from the bottom/back of the air conditioner. Our maintenance guy told us to periodically pour a very dilute bleach solution through it to control buildup but not sure that is the right way to deal with it! I just make sure to have it serviced once a year and the maintenance guys take care of it for me!
  8. Thanks so much for this post! You're absolutely right--There are a lot of things that anyone can do without the help of a professional to help their HVAC. That being said, I think everyone should know the limits of what they can do. It's no use damaging your AC unit in an attempt to fix it. Good luck!
  9. I have always known about how you should regularly change your air filter. However, I was unaware that you needed to clean the air conditioner coils. That is definitely something that I have never done before, but I can see how the dirt that builds up can restrict air flow and waste energy.
  10. Silas Knight says
    I have never been good at taking care of the AC unit. However, I want our home to be more energy efficient, and I want to save money on power bills, so I want to take better care of it. I don't think I have ever cleaned the coils, let alone yearly, so I will start doing that as soon as possible!

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