How Often You Should Be Cleaning Your Air Conditioner

When it comes to home maintenance, there are many factors to keep up with. While things like cleaning your fridge and scrubbing your bathtub are more likely to cross your mind, much more goes into maintaining your space than you might originally think. One of these things that you've probably forgotten is keeping your air conditioner clean, which is likely well-used during the hot summer months.

According to theĀ World Economic Forum, around 90% of U.S. households owned an air conditioner in 2020, a statistic that continues to rise. Despite this high amount of households with ACs, the number of regularly maintained units is much lower, with roughly only 43% of those individuals conducting yearly upkeep (per Payless Power).

You might be wondering what the big deal is about keeping your AC clean, but the truth is that your unit will not only work better if it's regularly maintained, but it will also last longer. With this in mind, it's good to know exactly how often you should be checking in on your air conditioner.

You should regularly change your air conditioner's filter

Although your air conditioner has many parts, air filter replacement and cleaning is the most basic form of maintenance. According to Haley Comfort Systems, you should replace or clean your AC air filters once a month during well-used periods. Some filters are reusable and will only need to be cleaned, but others will need to be completely replaced (per Energy Saver).

If you live in a cooler area and don't use your unit as often, then you may be able to do this less often, like every two months. Some factors, though, like pet dandruff or constant use will require maintenance more often.

Cleaning or replacing your filter is important because built-up dirt and dust will affect your AC's airflow and reduce the unit's overall efficiency. Plus, a dirty air filter will potentially damage other areas of your appliance. If your air conditioner has to work harder to keep your space cool, it will use more energy and negatively impact your energy bill, making it important to keep in mind.

Other parts of your AC also need to be maintained

In addition to maintaining your filter, you should also be aware of your air conditioner's coils. AC units have two types of coils: evaporator coils, which are located in the indoor portion of your unit, and condenser coils, which are located in the outdoor portion of your unit (per Quality Comfort Services).

According to Big Mountain Heating & Air, air conditioner coils should be cleaned at least once a year to ensure that your appliance is working efficiently. Of course, factors like AC usage and home location should also be considered when deciding how often you should maintain your coils, as cities high in pollution or regions with high temperatures are likely to put more stress on your AC.

Although you can clean your AC coils on your own, The Spruce explains that it's an involved and potentially dangerous process, so you should also consider calling in professionals if you're not prepared to take on the task.

Lastly, your air conditioner also has a condensate drain that requires yearly maintenance. Energy Saver explains that passing a stiff wire through your AC's drain channel will prevent clogging, lowering the possibility of excess moisture remaining in your home's air that can result in water damage.