Tips to help you maintain your AC this summer

Posted by Grant Bowman on June 19, 2017

It’s that time of year again that we all dream about – time to get outside and enjoy all the great outdoor experiences Minnesota offers during summer. That also means you are going to be shutting up the house and turning on the air conditioner (AC) again to keep out the hot, humid air and allergens.  So, let’s have a short conversation about getting your AC ready for summer with some maintenance tips.

First, make sure that any covering used to protect the outdoor unit (condenser) has been removed and stored for the summer. 

central air conditioning unit in backyard with cover over the top.


  • Verify the power has been restored to the condenser if it was turned off last fall.
  • Turn your thermostat to “Cool” mode and set the temperature to your desired setting.
  • Give the system time to go through any time delays that may be built into the system. This could be as long as five or more minutes.
  • Verify the furnace blower and outdoor units are running.  Enjoy the cool air!

To make sure your air conditioner operates effectively and efficiently, here are some more maintenance tips you can follow:

  • First, turn off the power to the outdoor unit (condenser).
  • Remove any obstructions or vegetation that has grown up around the condenser.  Any side of the condenser that has grill work or coil needs at least 12 inches of clearance for good airflow (More than 12 inches is better if possible).

    central air conditioning unit in backyard with cover off and bushes cleared around it.

  • Now, flush the outdoor coil. To do this, remove any exterior panels if they are designed to be removed for cleaning.  Take a garden hose with a straight stream and flush the debris down off the face of the coil first.  Then, once the big stuff is flushed off, blow straight through the coil to push any dust and sludge through. Important tip: don’t push the big stuff into the coil, it must be pushed down the surface or it will get stuck inside the fins. Replace any panels you removed.

    Two photos combined of a central unity air conditioner with the vent panels removed from the side. The left photo has a tool belt on the top of the unit. The right photo shows a hose cleaning out the condensers.

  • Return power to the condenser. 
  • At the furnace, clean out the condensate line from the evaporator to the floor drain, for sure the p-trap if your drain system has one.

    Image showing PVC piping in a basement near a furnace highlighting the p-trap.

  • Replace the furnace filter (or continue to follow your normal schedule filter change if you are following one – use the proper quality filter for your system).
  • Make sure all the registers on the floors you want to cool are open and free from any obstructions.

If you think your unit is not cooling as well as previous years, it is time to have a professional inspect your system.  It may need cleaning in areas you cannot safely reach, or it could be low on refrigerant.  It is possible there are other issues that need preventative maintenance that a trained professional can detect and fix before you have a major repair problem.

Now it’s time to sit outside with your family and enjoy our blessings and a great Minnesota summer.

Grant Bowman

Grant Bowman

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