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Your Ultimate AC Maintenance Checklist: 8 Easy DIY Steps

By: Team ProSolutions

Looking for an AC maintenance checklist? Look no further. AC maintenance is the key to an efficient air conditioner and a cool, comfortable home. To keep your AC unit in top working condition throughout the summer, there are several steps you can take – without the need to call an Edmonton air conditioning contractor. This AC maintenance checklist will walk you through the most important DIY maintenance steps.

Keep in mind, if you are unsure about how to complete any item on our AC maintenance checklist (or don’t feel comfortable doing so), it’s best to call an AC professional. The air conditioning experts at ProSolutions are just a call away. Whether you require assistance with AC maintenance, installation or repair give us a shout – 780-453-6640.

Now, let’s get into it! Here’s our ultimate AC maintenance checklist.

AC Maintenance Checklist
How often should I service my air conditioner?
What happens if AC is not serviced?
What does an AC tune-up include?

A professional man is fixing the heavy unit of an air conditioner in Edmonton

8 Step AC Maintenance Checklist

Our AC maintenance checklist will help you keep your AC running smoothly. Complete these DIY steps each year (before you start up your AC) for a more efficient air conditioning system and maximum home comfort. More importantly, completing these steps at least once per year will extend the lifespan of your AC unit and reduce the need for costly repairs. In the end, you’ll save both time and money!

PRO TIP: If you need a new AC, the size, efficiency rating, technology and other factors also play a role in energy costs and home comfort. To help you choose the perfect AC for your Edmonton home, we’ve put together this air conditioner buying guide.

To be safe, please always ensure that the power to your AC unit is OFF before beginning maintenance. It is also recommended that you allow your AC to sit without power for approximately half an hour before beginning any maintenance tasks. As mentioned above, if you are unsure about a task or have any questions, please contact a local heating and cooling company, like ProSolutions, for assistance. 

Now, here’s our trusty AC maintenance checklist for you to keep on hand.

To help you get a better sense of how to complete each item on the checklist, let’s take a look at each step.


Clear Debris from Around Your AC

For your first AC maintenance task, you’ll want to clean up the area around your outdoor air conditioning unit. Be sure to remove leaves, weeds and any other material that could impede airflow. For the best possible airflow, a clear radius of at least 2 feet around your AC is recommended.

It’s a good idea to complete this AC maintenance checklist item periodically throughout the year as well. This will help your AC run more efficiently.

Dirty air conditioning unit cover in leaves during spring


Inspect and Clean the Outdoor Unit

To ensure your AC is running smoothly, you should also clean the outside of your air conditioner (the condenser). To clean the condenser, use a soft brush to gently remove dirt and debris. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum (with a soft attachment) to carefully clean the condenser. Then, rinse the exterior using a hose. For exceptionally stubborn grime, you may need to use a coil cleaning product. 

As part of this AC maintenance checklist step, be sure to inspect the condenser fins on the outside of the unit as well. Look closely at the condenser fins (the thin metal strips that cover the exterior of your AC) and make sure none are bent or damaged. 

If you notice bent fins on your condenser, there’s no need to worry. In most cases, bent fins can be reshaped. The easiest way to do this is using a fin comb. Alternatively, call your local AC professionals for assistance.

Ensuring that the exterior of your AC is clean and clear of debris and that the condenser fins are straight will help to maximize efficiency and ensure the longevity of your air conditioning system. A clean AC also helps to reduce energy costs, improve air quality inside your home and prevent unexpected breakdowns that require costly repairs.

Cleaning the Indoor Portion of Your AC

It’s also important that the inside portion of your AC unit is clean and clear of blockages. Cleaning the indoor part of your air conditioner involves cleaning the evaporator coils. This can be done at home. However, depending on the type of air conditioner you have, it may not be a simple task. Therefore, unless you know your way around an air conditioning unit, and are handy with tools, you may want to leave this step up to the pros.


Clear the Condensate Drain Line

The evaporator coil in your AC removes heat from the air in your home. In doing so, condensation gathers on the coil. This moisture drains into a condensate line and is expelled outside (or wherever the drain line empties).

To prevent blockages caused by debris or a build-up of mould or algae, it’s important to inspect and clean the line as part of your AC maintenance checklist. If a clog is left unchecked, it can cause flooding or even stop your AC from running. A clogged condensate drain can also cause a strong odour.

First, locate the drain line. Most condensate drain lines are located outside near your AC unit. The drain line is typically a small PVC pipe and shouldn’t be too hard to spot. Once you’ve found the line, check to see whether it is draining properly. If it appears to be clogged, use a shop vac to suck out any debris. Alternatively, you can pour a distilled vinegar solution through the line to help remove buildup and kill bacteria.


Change the Air Filter (The Most Important AC Maintenance Checklist Item!)

Changing the air filter is your HVAC system is one of the most important AC maintenance checklist items to complete. Not only will a clogged filter force your air conditioner to work harder, but it will also increase your utility costs. As a result, your AC may experience a shorter lifespan and require more frequent repairs. 

The AC maintenance experts at ProSolutions recommend changing your AC filter (or cleaning it if you have a reusable filter) every few months – or more frequently if it appears to be dirty.

Technician working on air conditioning outdoor unit on hot sunny day


Ensure Your AC is Level

Although it might not seem like a big deal, having a level concrete slab under your outdoor AC unit is important. If your air conditioner is not level, it will have to work harder. Again, this will reduce efficiency, increase operating costs, and could even cause your AC to stop working altogether.

To complete this AC maintenance checklist item, examine the slab to ensure it is flat. If not, adjust it until your air conditioner is level. This may be as simple as adding some shims under the pad. Or, if the job is a bit more involved, you may need to contact a contractor to help you out.


Visually Inspect Electrical Wiring

Damaged wiring and loose connections can cause many AC problems – including fires or a complete system failure. Therefore, it’s important to take a look at the electrical wiring and controls on your air conditioning system. Keep an eye out for frayed or chewed wires, loose connections and controls that are broken.

That said, unless you are a trained professional, please do not attempt to repair any electrical components. This can be extremely dangerous and should be left to the pros. Instead, a visual inspection can tell you whether professional air conditioning repair services are needed.


Test Out Your AC

Finally, it’s time to turn on the power and test out your air conditioner! Allow the unit to run while you watch and listen for any strange noises or other atypical behaviour. Be sure to test out the thermostat as well.

If you notice your thermostat isn’t working properly, or if there’s another issue with your air conditioner, give the AC professionals at ProSolutions a call. We’ll send one of our technicians to take a look and help you fix the problem so you can relax in a cool, comfortable home.

Exhausted women calling ProSolutions to repair her Air Conditioning unit.


Schedule an Annual Tune-Up

Working through our AC maintenance checklist is also a great reminder to schedule annual maintenance for your air conditioner. Regular maintenance is important to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. 

The best time to schedule a tune-up is in the spring. This will help you beat the summer rush and ensure your AC is in good working condition before the hot weather arrives.


Bonus AC Maintenance Checklist Item – Sign Up for an AC Maintenance Plan

Can’t seem to remember to schedule an annual AC tune-up before the summer rush? An AC maintenance plan from ProSolutions can help! 

As a member of our maintenance program, you’ll be contacted by our team to remind you about maintenance needs. We’ll help you schedule a tune-up and ensure your air conditioner is summer-ready. No need to set any reminders – we’ve got you covered!

In addition, you’ll benefit from year-round savings on AC services, priority service, and access to an experienced and professional team of AC experts.


How often should I service my air conditioner? (Professionally and using a DIY AC maintenance checklist)

For optimal performance, it’s recommended that a professional technician services your air conditioner at least once per year. The same is true for DIY AC maintenance.

Long winters can take a toll on air conditioners in Edmonton. Therefore, it’s important that maintenance and a routine tune-up are completed before you start using your AC for the summer.

Air Conditioning Repair Servicing Man


What happens if AC is not serviced?

Without regular maintenance, an air conditioner will be unable to cool your home effectively and efficiently. An inefficient system can also lead to higher energy costs, a shorter lifespan, more frequent repairs and an uncomfortable indoor climate during hot summer months. This is why AC professionals recommend annual tune-ups.

Keep in mind, that choosing a dependable AC brand is also important for reliable and efficient cooling. For a list of the top-rated AC brands in Alberta, check out our guide to the best air conditioner brands.

What does an AC tune-up include?

An AC tune-up from ProSolutions covers every aspect of your air conditioner. Our trained AC technicians will ensure the most important parts of your AC are in good working condition, including:

  • Evaporator coils
  • Refrigerant lines
  • Condenser
  • Compressor
  • Blower motor
  • Thermostat
  • Filters, etc.

As a result of our thorough tune-up process, we can catch (and fix) potential issues before they become costly problems. Your AC will be ready to rock all summer long!

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