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Show Your A/C System a Little Love This Summer

June 21 is the first official day of what promises to be the hottest, sweatiest summer on record. And with all that heat, your A/C system will be putting in some overtime hours and working up a sweat of its own.

But a tune-up can keep your A/C system running strong. A well-maintained A/C can use up to 27 percent less energy than one that’s been neglected. And that can mean big savings on your bill. And it’s better for the planet. Experts recommend yearly tune-ups.

There are lots of little things that can go wrong with these systems. Refrigerant can leak or be undercharged. Belts and bearings can wear out, and electrical connections can come loose. In most cases, you’ll want to have a qualified technician fix these things. But before you start calling heating and air companies for service, check with your local utility or energy provider. Sometimes, they offer deals on A/C tune-ups.

Keeping up with these issues can do more than just save on your monthly bill. It can extend the life of your A/C system, too. And some A/C manufacturers even require that certified techs perform regular maintenance as part of their warranty agreement.

But you don’t need a professional for everything. There are a few things you can do yourself to help keep your A/C system in tip-top shape. Here are just a few:

  • Make sure your A/C filter is clean. Most are easy to replace or clean when they get dirty. You should check it at least once a month. Dirty filters will make your system work a lot harder than it needs to. And they’ll shorten its life span, too.
  • Clean your coils and drain. Evaporator coils are usually behind a door just above your system’s blower motor inside your home. It’s a good idea to remove dust and spray the coils with coil cleaner at least once a year. And while you’re there, clean the evaporator drain with a small amount of bleach or white vinegar. Major clogs may require you to tape a wet-dry vacuum to the drain opening to suck out buildup.
  • Clean your condenser. Located outside the home, your A/C condenser is what brings air in from outdoors. You’ll want to make sure weeds and shrubs aren’t too close. And it’s important to clean debris from the unit’s metal fins and interior. Be sure to cut power to you’re A/C system at the breaker box first.

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