Home maintenance tips for your air conditioner

Want cool summers, warm winters and low power bills? Keep your cool and take a little time to get to know your home’s heating, venting and air conditioning system. (HVAC)

HVAC, SEER, you’ve heard the terms but what does it all mean?  Here is a quick glossary with a few terms to help you get started:

Duct work: These are insulated round tubes in your ceiling that carry and distribute heated or cool air to each room.

Filter: Located near the air handler or in the return air grill, the filter helps reduce the flow of dust into the air.  This is usually square or rectangular in shape and should be cleaned or replaced monthly.  Disposable filters usually cost less and are about a  dollar.

Mastic: Mastic works to seal metal, flexible, and fibrous ductwork. 

Register (also called grills): The registers/grills are the metal rectangle shaped inserts you see in the ceiling in each room.  Some registers are supply registers; they deliver air into the room.  Others could be return air registers that return air from the room back into the air handler to be re-heated or re-cooled.

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, this says how efficient your system will operate in your space.

Thermostat: This is a small rectangle shaped box that is mounted on a wall and controls the entire heating and cooling system. 

ac system layout image

Now that you know the HVAC lingo, here are some tips to keep your system in good working condition. 

First, review your warranty.  Our new homes come with a workmanship warranty and a manufacturer warranty.

Next, get to know your system.  The air handlers in the new homes we build are usually located in an interior space of the home which allows them to work less and operate in a more energy efficient manner.

Some of the materials used in the installation are: sheet metal, dampers, louvers, grills, flexible duct, duct board, mastic, copper refrigerant lines, control wiring, overflow pan switch and plywood.

While annual professional inspection and maintenance is recommended, a little homeowner upkeep will keep your unit running at optimum levels.

Maintaining your HVAC system can seem like a daunting task. However, it does not need to be confusing, frustrating or problematic. The most important thing to do is inspect and either clean or replace your filter each month. When the filter becomes clogged with dust, allergens and pollutants it will restrict the airflow causing the system to work harder.

Imagine what it would be like trying to breathe through a straw while jogging, this is the type of strain you want to prevent with your ac unit. The harder the system works, the more energy is required. This will shorten the lifespan of the system and increase your cost to operate the system.

Perhaps the most important thing to do is to actually have your HVAC system inspected once a year by a professional.

Don’t wait until it is hot and you need your A/C, getting an appointment in the peak of the season may take longer and will be costly. Be proactive and keep your HVAC system in top working order.

Here are some tips and tricks from our warranty team:

1. Outside you home, the A/C condenser coil should be kept clean. Vacuum out any debris that may have fallen in or around the unit. If your coil requires a chemical cleaning allow a trained technician to do it.

2. Always trim any bushes or trees around your condensing unit and maintain two feet of clearance around the unit.

3. Keep your coil clean inside the home as well. If your coils are not easy to get to, they may need to be cleaned by a professional.

4. Check your condensate drain pans and clean them of any mold or growth. This should be killed using a 10:1 solution of bleach. 10 parts water to one part bleach as the strongest solution.

5. Check your condensate drain lines outside to make sure they are clean and flow water freely without backing up.

6. It is important to make sure lawn sprinklers are not spraying on the condensing unit.

7. This is especially important if you have well water.  Well water will make the condenser rust faster which is not covered under your warranty. Rinse the outside unit with city water once a month to help maintain it cleanliness.

These tips were meant to provide general information and are worded based on our personal experiences combined with online research. We always recommend calling a licensed, trained professional for specifics including warranty information, code requirements, precise instructional information, etc. Since we are a new home builder, some products, materials and processes may change over time and may vary in the different locations we build new homes.

Please refer to your new home warranty paperwork included in your homeowner orientation packet for more information.

More home improvement tips can be found here.

Adams Homes is one of the largest privately-held new home builders in the southeast. Adams Homes has built more than 35,000 new homes since 1991 and builds in seven states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Discover all Adams Homes communities, model homes and homes for sale anytime on our website, https://www.adamshomes.com/. While you're there, explore our mortgage calculator and obtain financing information.


(Home ac system image is a sample from Goodman AC)

25 thoughts on “Home maintenance tips for your air conditioner

  1. I wouldn’t have thought to trim bushes and keep the area around the unit outside clear, but that certainly makes sense. When I get home I am definitely going to check to see if there is some work for me to do in that area. I am someone who doesn’t do terribly well with the heat, so I need an air conditioning system that works well.

  2. Thank you for providing this information about air conditioner maintenance. I did not know that a mastic worked to seal metal, flexible, and fibrous duct work. I think that it is a good idea to get this system inspected regularly by a professional who specializes in working with HVAC.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I just want to emphasize something: Duct or Ductless HVAC system actually does matter. A ductless unit will help you keep away from allergies and will save you money on maintenance. Thanks for sharing this informative post..


  4. I appreciate these home maintenance tips for an air conditioner. It is good to that the filter is important because it helps to reduce the flow of dust in the air. This is good because it would improve overall air quality. Something to think about would be to have the system maintained regularly by a professional to ensure that it is functioning correctly.

  5. I agree with the article that it’s important to have you air conditioning inspected once a year. Not only will you prevent future problems, but it will save you the hassle of having your air condition break when it’s hot and you need it most. I’ll definitely be looking into having my unit serviced at least once a year to keep it running smoothly.

  6. I didn’t know that the filter helped reduce dust flow into the system. I recently got my air ducts cleaned and they were full of dust. Maybe I should ask a professional to come replace my air filter for me.

  7. Trimming bushes or trees around your condensing unit would be a good thing to do when it comes to air conditioner maintenance. I also appreciate what was said about checking condensate drain pans. I have also heard that putting a little fence around the unit is a good idea if you have pets or other things that could possible damage the air conditioner.

  8. I appreciate everything that you had to say here about maintaining your air conditioner. I have inspected ours pretty thoroughly when we first moved into our new place; however, I think I will need to replace our duct-work pretty soon here since it is starting to rip at the seams. Just like you said here, I will make sure to get on that as soon as possible because that is what carries the cool air and the warm air. Thanks again!

  9. Thanks for the tip to make sure sprinklers are not spraying on the condensing unit when taking care of your A/C unit. My unit has been having some trouble lately, and I’m not sure what exactly the problem is. Calling an air conditioning service and making sure that my sprinklers don’t mess with the condensing unit are measures I’ll start taking to take care of my A/C unit.

  10. Air conditioner maintenance can make your ac working properly. You shared the great tips here. I like it. Thanks for sharing the best knowledge with us

  11. As owning my own air conditioning company, I cant stress how important changing your filter for your ac system is. It is like changing the oil on your car. Remember guys, these systems can cost $5,000 + to replace so its very important to maintain them!

    Great info!

  12. Change your air filter regularly. Check your filter each month, change the filter at regular intervals of 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system to work harder to keep you warm or cool.

  13. You talked briefly about SEER. How do I figure out this ratio and how do I improve it? I would love to know before the summer really gets rolling here. Thanks!

  14. It sure was great that you mentioned the importance of both a regular professional inspection and owner’s upkeep in ensuring the longevity of the AC unit. The only problem is that we failed to do both and now the AC unit is malfunctioning in a frustrating level. I will be sure to call a professional to give it a check and repair it. Afterward, I will be sure to start following your tips.

  15. I think I understand why you mentioned that it is important to make sure that there are no bushes or trees at least two feet from the condensing unit. This is because those things can actually get sucked inside or crawl inside and wreak havoc in the AC unit. The only problem is that I did not realize that as early as I should have and now the AC unit is not working. I will be sure to call a professional to repair it, then I will follow your tips so that it does not happen again.

  16. I really appreciate your tip to check the warranty of your air conditioning unit. My wife and I have been thinking of getting a new air conditioning unit since our old one isn’t performing well. I will be sure to check the warranty of our existing air conditioning unit!

  17. Thanks for pointing out that the professional maintenance will keep your unit in the best condition at all times. With that in mind, I will make sure to hire experts as well after the installation of the unit in our house. Actually, we haven’t found a contractor to install a unit in our house yet because we still haven’t picked a type of system that we would want. However, your tips will be of great help in the future.

  18. Great article! I agree that spending a little time on upkeep between professional maintenance visits will help keep the unit in good shape.

  19. I can’t sleep unless my room is cold at night. So, it is really important for my AC to be working. I liked that you pointed out that I should clean the coils in my AC every now and then to keep it working well.

  20. This is osm really good information about air conditioning. It is great to know that it would be smart to try cleaning out the ducts and clean the coils. That is something simple that I would totally forget to do.

  21. I like your suggestion about inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the filter each month to maintain your AC’s functionality. Thanks for discussing it’s proper maintenance as well. My sister just bought a new house, and she is now looking for an AC contractor who can help her with AC services. I will let her know about your maintenance tips as well.

  22. I am very impressed with your article it includes very valuable information it has increased my skills. Keep writing such kind of article.

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