It’s hard to stay cool in the summer’s sweltering heat — that’s why your air conditioner’s performance is so important.

Just a few routine tasks will help you avoid A/C breakdowns and save money on your energy bills.

So, what can you do beyond changing the air conditioner filter to keep the unit properly maintained?

Start with the outdoor condenser unit — shut off its power. Then, sweep away any debris and use a garden hose to wash off remaining debris.
Next, trim shrubs back and straighten any damaged fins in the unit.

The air-handling unit extracts a lot of water from your home through the A.C. condensation drain line, so a little maintenance here goes a long way.

Keeping the drain line clear is essential, so pour a cup of bleach down the drain line at least a couple times a year.
If the drain line does get clogged, use a wet-dry vacuum to clear the pipe.

Finally, remember: A central air conditioner does not last forever. In fact, its lifespan is between 14 and 18 years.
However, you can avoid a lot of problems by purchasing a quality system today.

The most important factor in choosing a new air conditioner unit is the SEER rating.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER, the less you’ll spend on operating costs.

Federal law mandates a minimum SEER of 13 for all new air-conditioning units.

Watch the video above for more air conditioner maintenance tips!

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More