5 Tips to Preparing Your Air Conditioner for the Summer Months

As the summer months approach and temperatures rise, ensuring your air conditioner system is running at its optimal settings is crucial for maintaining a comfortable home. At Air Today, serving Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding cities, we understand the importance of a well-prepared air conditioning system. A well-maintained AC system not only keeps you cool but also operates efficiently, saving you money on energy bills. Here are five essential tips to prepare your air conditioner for the summer months, along with advice on whether you can handle these tasks yourself or if it’s best to call a certified HVAC professional.

1. Clean or Replace Air Filters

One of the simplest yet most important maintenance tasks is cleaning or replacing your air filters. Over time, air filters accumulate dust, dirt, and other particles that can hinder airflow and reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. A clogged filter forces your system to work harder, increasing energy consumption and potentially leading to overheating.

This task is generally easy to do yourself. Check your HVAC manual for the location of the filters and instructions on how to replace them. It’s recommended to check filters monthly and replace them every 1-3 months, depending on usage and the type of filter.

2. Inspect and Clean the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit of your Air Conditioning system, often referred to as the condenser, is exposed to the elements and can accumulate debris such as leaves, dirt, and grass clippings. Keeping this AC unit clean ensures proper airflow and prevents the system from overheating.

Steps to Clean the Outdoor Unit:

  1. Turn off the Power: Safety first! Ensure the power to the AC unit is turned off before you start.
  2. Clear Debris: Remove any visible debris from around the AC unit.
  3. Clean the Fins: Use a soft brush to gently clean the fins. Be careful not to bend them.
  4. Rinse the Unit: Lightly rinse the unit with a garden hose, avoiding high pressure to prevent damage.

Cleaning the air conditioning unit can be done yourself if you’re comfortable with basic maintenance tasks. However, for a more thorough cleaning or if you’re unsure, it’s best to hire a HVAC professional in Charlotte.

3. Check Thermostat Settings

Your thermostat plays a vital role in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. As summer approaches, it’s a good time to check and adjust your thermostat settings. Consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat for better energy efficiency and convenience.

Optimal Thermostat Tips:

  • Set your thermostat to a higher temperature when you’re away from home to save energy.
  • Use programmable settings to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule.
  • Keep the thermostat away from heat sources like direct sunlight or appliances that produce heat, as this can cause inaccurate readings.

Adjusting thermostat settings is something you can easily do yourself. If you decide to upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat, you might need a professional to install it and ensure its compatible with your HVAC system.

4. Inspect Ductwork

Leaky or poorly insulated ducts can significantly reduce the efficiency of your AC system, leading to higher energy bills and uneven cooling. Inspect your ductwork for any visible signs of leaks, such as disconnected joints, holes, or tears.

Steps to Inspect Ductwork:

  1. Visual Inspection: Look for visible leaks or damage.
  2. Seal Leaks: Use duct tape or mastic sealant to seal any small leaks.
  3. Insulate Ducts: Ensure your ducts are properly insulated to maintain the cool air within the system.

While you can perform a basic inspection and seal minor leaks yourself, a professional Air Today HVAC technician can conduct a more thorough inspection and address any significant issues.

5. Schedule a Professional Tune-Up

While there are several maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, scheduling a professional HVAC tune-up is highly recommended. An Air Today professional technician can perform a comprehensive inspection, clean components you might not be able to access, and identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Benefits of a Professional Tune-Up:

  • Detailed Inspection: Technicians can spot and address issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Regular tune-ups can prevent costly breakdowns and extend the life of your system.
  • Optimal Performance: A professional will ensure your system is running at its peak efficiency, saving you money on energy bills.

A professional tune-up is essential for ensuring your HVAC system is fully prepared for the demands of the summer months. While DIY maintenance is helpful, an Air Today HVAC professional can provide a level of care and expertise that ensures your system is in top condition.


Preparing your HVAC system for the summer months is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home. By following these tips—cleaning or replacing air filters, inspecting and cleaning the outdoor unit, checking thermostat settings, inspecting ductwork, and scheduling a professional tune-up—you can ensure your system runs smoothly all summer long. While many of these tasks can be done yourself, don’t hesitate to call Air Today, for more complex maintenance and inspections. A well-maintained HVAC system will keep you cool and comfortable, no matter how high the temperatures rise in Charlotte, North Carolina.