Your air conditioning unit should last somewhere between 10–15 years or more, but failing to take care of your appliance can cause early breakdowns and the need to purchase a new unit a lot sooner than that. Nobody wants to shell out extra money for an expensive appliance if they don't have to. Maintenance is key, and it's easy to do yourself. See below for tips on how to maintain your air conditioner to help lengthen the life of your unit.

Clean Up the Perimeter

Clean up the area around the air conditioning unit. You need to keep the area around the unit clear of debris and landscaping to help prevent blocking the air flow to your unit. This means removing flowers or hedges that you planted around your unit to block the view of the unit—move them at least 3–4 feet away. Pull weeds so they aren't growing up and around the unit. Remove clutter or rubbish that may be blocking air flow as well. Throughout the warm weather months, you should look around the unit often to ensure the weeds haven't returned.

Change the Air Filter

Just as you need to change the air filter in your system during cold weather months, it's important to change the air filters during warm weather months as well. The air filters help block dust and debris from blowing back through your duct work, helping to clean and purify the air you breathe in your home. If these filters are clogged with dust and debris, it can cause an air flow disturbance, making your air conditioner (or furnace) to work harder, often times causing a breakdown in your system. Change your filter at least once per month.

Clean Your Unit

Clean up the unit itself by spraying it down with a garden hose (not a power washer, as it will bend the fins on your unit). Spray it down to remove dust, dirt and other things such as grass clippings and cotton-wood seeds. Take the housing off and top fan off (carefully, as it will have wires connected to it), then spray the inside of the unit as well.

Remove leaves and other debris that may have fallen inside. Be sure when spraying the inside that you don't spray the motor directly. Always turn off the unit before taking off the housing or doing any type of work to it.

Maintaining your unit will help lengthen the life of your unit. You can also have your unit inspected by a professional heating and air conditioning technician to ensure it is in working order prior to the beginning of the warm weather season.

For more tips or assistance, contact companies like Norris Mechanical.