After the messy winter and spring months, your air conditioner can be in pretty rough shape, which means that when you turn it on in the summer when you really need it, it may not be operating at peak efficiency. This can result in loud noises, a lack of cold air being provided to your home, and higher energy bills. Thankfully, there are a number of fairly simple things that you can do to in order to get your air conditioner in good working order.
Check the Filter
You should check the filter for your air conditioner. Where the filter is located will depend on the type and model of air conditioner, but you can most commonly find it in the central unit located in your basement. Simply unlatch the covering and pull the filter out. If it's filled with dust, you should either clean it out (if you have a reusable filter) or replace it (replaceable filters can be found at most hardware stores).
Clean the Condenser
The condenser of your air conditioner, located outside for most central units, has a large fan on top that covers the cooling coils. Ensure that your air conditioner is turned off, and then remove the protective coverings over the fan with a screwdriver. The coils are fairly delicate, so the best course of action to clean them off is to use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. You should also remove any debris that may have built up at the bottom of the condenser to ensure proper air flow.
Check the Coolant Lines
The coolant lines are lines that run from the condenser to the indoor unit. They are insulated to prevent the transfer of heat to the coolant, and when the insulation is missing or damaged, your system will be less efficient. If you do see any signs of damaged or missing insulation, you should purchase additional foam insulation sleeves, available at most hardware stores, and install them over the affected areas.
Test the System
Once you've checked the filter, cleaned out the condenser, and made sure that the coolant lines are in good working order, you can turn the air conditioner on to ensure that it is working properly. You should get a steady flow of cool air throughout your home if everything is in good working order. If it is not, you may have a problem with one or more parts of your air conditioning system, and should call a HVAC professional to check it out.