An air conditioning (A/C) unit could sit idly for up to eight months, depending on where you live. Just because it started the summer season off strong, doesn’t mean it’s immune to breakdowns midseason – when you need it most.

Continued preventative maintenance can keep your A/C unit performing at its best. Be sure to keep up with cleaning this summer and plan routine checks year-round to prevent any surprise malfunctions. The following quick tips can keep your A/C unit performing at its best.

Clean Coils or Replace Filters

All fall and winter your A/C unit collects debris like dirt, dust and landscaping remnants. Fragments get caught in vents, clog the unit’s coils and block airflow. Additionally, debris like dry leaves are flammable and can create fire hazards. It’s beneficial to do these cleanings before using your A/C unit, but it’s not too late to get started on maintenance this season.

Disconnect the power to the unit before removing any parts or cleaning. Consult a user’s manual or online resource before you attempt to clean. Remove any debris and clean the coils. Check the filter (if applicable) and replace if needed. A clean unit encourages strong airflow and proper air quality.

Check Duct Work For Leaks

After inspecting and cleaning the outdoor unit, check the indoor components. Although these are not exposed to the elements, indoor ductwork is an important part of a working system and requires upkeep.

Check for any blockages or leaks at connection points. The ducts may be stored in walls and have unreachable access points, so consider hiring a professional to inspect these areas. Summer is also a great time to clean out your vents. You can do this yourself by cleaning entry points or hire a professional to clean out the entire system. Clean vents circulate cleaner air and can increase indoor air quality.

Test Unit

It’s good practice to test your A/C unit before the hot season. If you didn’t schedule a test this year, make a reminder to do one early spring next year. This gives time to schedule any necessary repairs without downtime.

Regular evaluation and maintenance are essential to keep your home at its best – for you and future buyers. Make sure you clean your A/C unit and test during off seasons. Know when to call a professional and keep your eyes open for A/C issues when buying a home.