If you hate the idea of facing another air conditioner repair bill, you might want to think about how you maintain the system in order to reduce wear and tear on the motor, fan, and other parts of the air conditioner. Typically a few minutes of maintenance or cleaning can ensure that your home's air conditioner is always in tiptop shape, and that you're doing everything possible to lighten its load overall. Note two of those cleaning jobs you can manage on your own.
1. Clean the ductwork and vents
When was the last time you had your home's ductwork and vents cleaned? If you can't readily remember, it's time to get it done. Ductwork can collect dust, lint, rodent droppings, dead bugs, and much more. Take a look at the vents in your home and note if they're coated with dust, hair, and the like. If so, the air conditioner then needs to work harder to push that flow of air through those ducts and your home's vents, as all that debris slows down that flow of air.
To help your air conditioner work easily, have ducts cleaned every year or as often as you think is necessary. If you can't afford to have them cleaned professionally, remove the vents and use a vacuum hose as far as you can reach inside the ductwork to remove as much dirt and debris as you can.
2. Clean the evaporator
The housing unit that sits outside your home is not the only part of your central air conditioner; the unit has an evaporator which removes heat from an area to be cooled. The evaporator usually sits on top of your furnace, inside the home. This evaporator is typically protected by what is called a plenum, or large metal hood that looks like ductwork. You may note this part on the top of your furnace.
You can access the air conditioner evaporator by unscrewing the front panel of this plenum. The evaporator will usually be in a triangle shape, with coils that face you. If dust and debris are allowed to build up on these coils, the evaporator doesn't work as efficiently to remove heat from the home and the air conditioner needs to work harder. Clean these coil with a soft but stiff brush that is meant for cleaning appliances. Run the brush around the coils and under the evaporator, but avoid using too much force or using a vacuum cleaner brush on this piece as it can be delicate and you don't want to break any coils. Once finished, return the front panel of the plenum.