AC Maintenance Checklist (6 Checks You Need To Do)

It is crucial to conduct preventive maintenance on your air conditioning system to help it run smoothly and efficiently.

And there are some things that you can do by yourself without the help of a service technician. That is why this guide is here to help you understand the correct way to maintain your air conditioning unit.

However, before getting started, try to make an air conditioner maintenance checklist to stay on top of the process. So without further ado, let us help you with it.

Preventative Maintenance for AC

Why Is AC Maintenance So Important?

Without regular care, your cooling system will lose the ability to maintain consistent cooling.

This is because when your AC’s condenser coil is dirty, it will lead to problems that will affect performance and damage other system parts.

Remember, without constant care and maintenance, an air conditioner loses around 5% efficiency every year.

This means that every year that you skip on servicing your air conditioning unit, you will spend more to have your air conditioning unit work with lower efficiency.

Other than that, here are some benefits for regular AC maintenance:

Low Energy Costs

In simpler terms, the better the condition of your air conditioning unit, the more efficiently it will work.

Think of when you first got the new air conditioner. It perhaps worked much better than the older unit, and its running was less expensive as well.

Maintaining the air conditioning system will ensure that it runs appropriately without working too hard to cool the room. This saves energy and will lower your energy bill.

Enhances System Efficiency

Efficiency goes hand in hand with low energy costs. The fewer barriers there are between your unit’s working conditions, the more efficiently it will work.

When you find minor problems and resolve them quickly, your system will:

  • Work to its maximum capabilities
  • Increase your system efficiency
  • Lower your energy bills
  • Effectively cool your house
Saves Warranty

Most of the warranties need constant unit maintenance, at least for the initial years. Even when your system is perfectly running, ignoring regular maintenance requirements will negate your warranty.

If this happens and you have severe issues with your air conditioning unit, you will have to pay out of your pocket to resolve an issue that could have been completely covered or prevented.

Prevents Extensive Repair Costs

Minor problems generally expose themselves during those regular central air conditioner maintenance checks, and they can usually be fixed inexpensively and pretty quickly.

However, suppose these minor issues are ignored or go unnoticed for a long time. In that case, they will most likely turn into more significant problems which will need extensive repair or even entire system replacement.

How To Maintain Your AC Every Month

The most effective and easiest way to keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly is by changing its filter monthly.

When you change the filter regularly, it considerably unburdens the system. In contrast, a clogged or dirty air filter will make your AC work harder than it will have with a clean filter.

Therefore, changing your filters monthly is not only easier on your budget but will increase your system’s efficiency as well.

It will also extend your air conditioning unit’s life and lower energy bills.

How To Maintain Your AC Annually

Here are ways you can annually maintain your air conditioning unit:

  • Regularly cleaning the filters is quite essential when it comes to annually maintaining your air conditioning unit. At a minimum, you should be changing your air filters out three times per year.
  • Cleaning the vents is another thing that must be on your annual maintenance list. If you observe, your AC’s winds and ducts accumulate a lot of dust and debris over time. Therefore, you must clean them yourself or call experts to maintain the proper hygiene conditions and make sure that there is no blockage in the vents.
  • Condensing unit blockage is something that must be kept in mind when annually maintaining your air conditioning unit. One of the best ways to ensure that it is not blocked is to cover it.
  • Freon levels – Normally, you do not have to annually change or even fill the Freon in your AC unit. However, you must still get an HVAC technician who checks for any leaks.

AC Maintenance Checklist – Complete HVAC Guide

Neglecting your air conditioner’s routine maintenance will negatively affect its efficiency and early failure of expensive parts.

Therefore, to prevent this, a thumb rule is to have your air conditioning system inspected annually by a certified technician.

The air conditioner maintenance checklist below lists what any routine air conditioner maintenance must include:

Air Conditioner Filter

Air filters keep debris and dust from entering your air conditioning unit. And if you have a clogged filter, it will lower your AC’s performance and energy efficiency, causing wear and tear in your system.

  1. Change your air conditioner filter after every four months, but ensure that you check the guidelines by your system’s manufacturer before doing so
  2. The best times to change the filter are during the fall and spring
  3. When changing the filter, make sure it has a similar airflow rating. You would not want your air conditioner to freeze due to reduced airflow.

Related Article How To Clean AC Filter

Related Article How To Change AC Filter

Air Conditioner Evaporator & Condenser Coil

  1. Please search for the evaporator coil inside your HVAC unit, and dust it off via a soft brush.
  2. You can get a no-rinse cleaner for your coil at the local hardware store, use it on your air conditioner’s coil.
  3. Do not worry about foams since they will drip in the drain pan

Related Article How To Clean AC Coils

Air Conditioner Drain Line and Drain Pan

Warm air is blown inside your house via an evaporator coil. Its heat is then absorbed by a cold coil that cools it, allowing it to be blown back inside your home.

However, this process causes moisture to accumulate on the coil. This water drips on the pan below and travels down the drain via the drain line.

Over time, the drain can suffer from algae growth, causing more clogs and flooding around the system.

  1. Use a shop vacuum to clear out the drain.
  2. You may need to tape the end of your vacuum. This will drain the tube and clear the clog by letting it run for some time
  3. To clean the drain pan, use soap and hot water.
  4. Many also prefer a 1:1 bleach-water solution to keep it free from mildew growth and algae.

Meanwhile, here is a guide on how you can drain water from your portable air conditioning unit.

Related Article How To Clean AC Drain Line

Air Conditioner Fan & Blower

The thin metal fins present on the side of your air conditioning unit are susceptible to clogging with dirt.

  1. When you are cleaning them, use a water hose to spray them from the inside. This will force the dust and dirt out of them.
  2. Next, check fins for warps and bends, and if present, use a butter knife or flathead screwdriver to straighten them out.
  3. Doing this will reduce strain on your air conditioner while also improving airflow.

Related Article How To Oil AC Fan Motor

Air Conditioner Electrical And Controls

  1. Check all electrical parts and hookups for wear and tear, scraps, and damage.
  2. Check and tighten any loose electric connection to improve the lifespan of your air conditioner.
  3. If you see something out of place, turn your unit off and call a technician.


  1. Duct inspection is not required every year and is rarely included in any standard system checkup.
  2. However, air duct leakage is the primary cause of inefficiency if you have a forced-air HVAC system.
  3. It is better to have the ductwork surveyed by professionals and have it insulated or sealed if required.
Central AC Ductwork

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How much is the annual maintenance of an ac cost through an HVAC pro?

Annual maintenance of AC costs around $140 to $200, and if you have a yearly contract, it can cost as low as $100 to $150. Look for a professional service and pay only what is required

How long does AC maintenance take to perform?

An annual checkup or maintenance of your HVAC unit will take around 1 to 2 hours. However, if you hire a professional service, it can be done quicker.

Can I spray my ac unit with water while running?

Yes, you can. Spraying water on your air conditioner’s condensing unit will increase its efficiency and cooling capacity since it will not have to work harder. But be careful of short-circuiting.

How long do central air conditioner units last?

The average life of a central air conditioner is around 10 to 15 years; however, with regular central AC maintenance, it can run for longer. However, make sure you only hire certified professionals for the job.


Heating and air conditioning maintenance are critical for running an HVAC system and providing more extended service.

However, most people do not understand the importance of this and lose a lot of money they could have saved if they had just paid attention before.

Hopefully, this guide, with its AC inspection checklist, was able to help you understand the benefits of proper central air conditioner maintenance and care.

Related Article How To Clean A Central AC

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.