Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer


The blistering summer heat is about to begin. Don’t let it sneak up on you. If you have a clean and tuned-up air conditioning system, you have nothing to worry about. But, there are still some regular maintenance tasks you should be doing.

How Air Conditioners Work (Simplified)

Your air conditioning system is made up of three parts: the condenser, the blower unit, and your ductwork.

  • The condenser pressurizes your Freon, turning it into a liquid.
  • The liquid Freon then travels into the inside blower unit and gets depressurized, turning the hot liquid into a cool gas.
  • From there, air passes through the cold coils and forces the conditioned air throughout your home.
  • After the Freon has done its work, it travels back to the condenser, where the process starts all over again.

Although you should leave things like blower motors and refrigerant lines to the professionals, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure your air conditioner is running properly all summer.

1. Change Filter

You should check and/or change your air filter every month. We recommend writing the dates on filter replacements and setting phone and calendar reminders to make sure this task gets accomplished on time.

If your air filter becomes clogged, your A/C might turn itself off as a precautionary measure, so always check the filter before calling for professional service. If the unit does not turn itself off, then the inhibited airflow may cause your coils to freeze up and shut down.

2. Clear Away Debris

Your heat pump, which is located outside, may have accumulated some leaves and other debris over the fall and winter seasons. It’s time to go outside and inspect your condenser/air conditioner.

There should be a minimum of 3 ft. clearance around the outdoor unit for unobstructed airflow.

Clear away any debris, such as twigs, leaves, and dirt. You can get most of this off with your hands and a garden hose, but if your unit calls for a deeper clean, call in a pro.

3. Check Ducts and Vents

Check the vents and registers around your home to make sure that they are unobstructed. Rugs, furniture, and heavy drapes are common culprits. If any vents have been manually closed, go around and open them all backup. It is actually more inefficient to close off vents to unused areas of the home than it is to simply leave them all open. For more information on this topic, read the technical explanation given by

While you are doing this, you may want to clean your vent grills and take a look to see if you need professional duct cleaning. We recommend scheduling a professional air duct cleaning every 5 years or so for better indoor air quality and a more efficient HVAC system. This is especially important if you notice any mold growth in or around your ductwork.

The second thing you should check is your air duct connections and seams. Did you know that the average American home loses 20 to 30% of its conditioned air to air leaks and holes (

To avoid these inefficiencies, seal up your air ducts with aluminum foil tape and/or mastic sealant. Ironically, duct tape is not a good choice for this project. For learn more about the benefits of duct sealing, see our previous post.

For more air conditioning and cooling tips:

Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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