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Maintaining Air Conditioners

A regular maintenance routine helps keep your A/C humming

Keeping Your Cool
Illustration by Narda Lebo
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Your central-air unit will run trouble-free for years—if you maintain it. Replace the air filter monthly to ensure adequate airflow. Check the compressor cabinet louvers; they can become clogged with dirt or leaves, which will make the unit work harder and overheat. Remove the cabinet cover and clear away the debris with a garden hose or shop vacuum. Also hose away dirt from coils and aluminum fins, as shown.

A final tip: Cool units run much more efficiently. So, shade the compressor with an overhead lattice panel, awning, or similar sunscreen.

Keeping Your Cool
Illustration by Narda Lebo
Keeping Your Cool

Your central-air unit will run trouble-free for years—if you maintain it. Replace the air filter monthly to ensure adequate airflow. Check the compressor cabinet louvers; they can become clogged with dirt or leaves, which will make the unit work harder and overheat. Remove the cabinet cover and clear away the debris with a garden hose or shop vacuum. Also hose away dirt from coils and aluminum fins, as shown.

A final tip: Cool units run much more efficiently. So, shade the compressor with an overhead lattice panel, awning, or similar sunscreen.

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