When fall rolls in, many people just turn their air conditioner off for the season and figure they'll deal with maintenance the next spring. But while maintaining your air conditioner annually in the spring is a good idea, you may want to do some fall maintenance, too. Here are four ways to maintain your air conditioning system this fall.
1. Change the filter
If you live in an area where you use heat in the winter and AC in the summer, then you should absolutely change your air filter in the fall. Your air conditioner and furnace probably push air through the same filter, so leaving the dirty summer filter in place won't make for a very clean home once heating season starts. Change the filter now before you forget. It's okay if the filter sits there unused for a month or two while you are not running the AC or heat.
2. Clear out leaves.
You can wait until spring to thoroughly clean and hose out your air conditioner's outdoor unit. However, you should clean out any leaves now before you put the cover on the unit. Wait until the leaves are mostly done falling from the trees to do this. You can use an air pump to blow the leaves out—or even put your shop vac on reverse and use it to blow away the leaves. Alternatively, unscrew the AC housing so you can access the interior of the compressor and remove the leaves manually.
3. Clean the air vents.
This is also the perfect time of year to clean all of your air vents. You will remove all of the summer contaminants, like pollen, so your home stays cleaner either when the heat kicks on, or when you return to using the AC next spring. Use a vacuum to suction all of the surface dust off of the vent cover. Then, wipe the cover down with some soapy water. You can even remove the vent covers by unscrewing them if you wish to clean them more thoroughly.
4. Cover the AC unit.
Covering the outdoor AC unit will help protect it from the elements. Just make sure you use a real AC cover, not a tarp. A tarp may trap too much moisture against the AC unit, encouraging premature corrosion and water damage. If you do not have a cover, ask your AC service contractor to recommend one for your particular unit.