Part of keeping the major appliances in your home working is performing routine maintenance. This is especially important for your home's HVAC system, which gets plenty of use all summer long to keep your home cool. The last thing you want is for the unit to break down unexpectedly on a hot day, which is why it will help to perform some annual AC system maintenance.
Clean The Compressor
The outdoor compressor is likely filthy after the past year of being outside. It's important to give the compressor a thorough cleaning each year to get rid of the dirt and debris that could be inside the grill of the unit. The outdoor compressor needs airflow to keep itself cool, and you may be surprised at how a dirty compressor can easily overheat and cause the whole unit to shut down.
Check The Refrigerant
The air conditioner requires refrigerant in order to run smoothly and remove the heat from your home. That's why you'll want to investigate how much refrigerant is inside the air conditioner to tell if it has the right amount of refrigerant in the system. While this is typically done when you have an HVAC service technician perform the maintenance on the air conditioner for you, it's something that you can do on your own with some basic equipment.
If you do discover that you have low refrigerant, it is likely due to it leaking out of the system. You'll need to find the leak and repair it before you can start using your air conditioner again next summer.
Change The Air Filter
A dirty air filter can be the cause of the A-coil freezing up inside the air handler, which will lead to the system shutting down due to overheating. Keep the filter clean by switching it out when appropriate. Some systems require the filter to be changed monthly, while others require an annual filter change. Make sure you understand how frequently you have to change the filter, and set a reminder to do so.
Unclog The Drain And Water Pump
There is a tray that holds condensation that drips off the internal parts of the air conditioner, and a pump that moves this water out of the tray and into a nearby drain. Make sure that the drain is not clogged and the tube for the pump is not clogged either. If it is, the drain pan can fill and trip a shut off that turns off your entire air conditioner.