An AC unit is only efficient when it is well maintained. While it is important to change your AC filter whenever it gets clogged, this is only the first step toward AC maintenance. By cleaning your coils, checking your ducts for leaks, and installing window film, you can greatly improve your AC efficiency and keep your costs much lower than they otherwise would be. 

Clean Condenser Coils

Over time your condenser coils can get clogged with insect carcasses, dandelion fluff, and other yard debris. When this happens, the airflow through your coils is restricted. If you don't have good airflow, your overall system efficiency can drop by as much as 37%. Thus, cleaning your coils whenever they look clogged should be part of your maintenance tasks. To clean your coils, remove the protective grid that covers the coils, spray a coil cleaner onto the metal fins that make up your coils, then scrub them clean with a stiff-bristle brush.

Inspect Your Ducts for Leaks

Whether due to a shoddy installation job or the normal stresses of use, air conditioning ducts will develop leaks over time. As air escapes the ducts through leaks, your system efficiency can be diminished by up to 40%. You can check your own ducts for leaks if you have ductwork running through an unfinished attic or basement. Simply run a lit stick of incense along your ducts and mark any spot where the smoke from the incense is disturbed. You can then come back later and paint over the marks you made with duct mastic. 

Install Window Film

A key part of AC maintenance is decreasing the need to run your AC unit, for the less it runs, the less wear it incurs. One way to prevent the need to run your AC is to improve your home's defenses against heat gain. Windows allow a lot of heat to enter your home, so they are a good place to start your efforts. Installing a sheet of low-e window film will decrease your cooling costs by up to 23% by helping your home to stay cool for longer periods of time. 

By taking the steps described above, you can improve your AC performance and cut your cooling costs, but you will also reduce wear and tear on your AC equipment, which will help to keep your repair costs down. In short, the more you do to maintain your unit, the less you have to pay in the long run. For more information, talk a company like Advanced Heating & Air Inc.