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The Ultimate Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist

Air conditioner repairmen work on home unit. Blue collar workers.

Discover our comprehensive air conditioning maintenance guide with tips, checklists, and DIY tasks for optimal HVAC system performance and troubleshooting.

Modified on

February 28, 2024

Air conditioning is critical for maintaining comfort levels in a facility during the warm months, and air conditioning challenges can present themselves at any time. That’s why air conditioner maintenance is an essential part of any organization’s preventive maintenance program. This comprehensive guide will delve into the importance of regular HVAC maintenance, with a strong focus on the critical nature of air conditioning.

What is Air Conditioning Maintenance?

When looking at HVAC preventive maintenance, air conditioner maintenance encompasses tasks to keep the air conditioning unit operating efficiently and effectively. Air conditioner maintenance includes performing inspections, replacing parts, and repairing a malfunctioning AC unit.

How Air Conditioners Work

An AC system removes the warm air inside a building, transfers it outside, and pulls outdoor air to cool it over refrigerating coils. A blower then blows the cooled air back into the indoor space.

Signs Your AC Needs Maintenance

Malfunctioning or inefficiently operating air conditioners can increase energy costs while reducing indoor comfort levels. These common signs often indicate that a unit needs AC maintenance:

  • The AC system is blowing warm air.
  • The air conditioner thermostat isn’t working.
  • The AC unit is causing unusual sounds or odors.
  • There are signs of leaking or moisture around the air conditioner.
  • The AC doesn’t cool evenly between rooms.
  • The air conditioner frequently cycles on and off.
  • Energy bills are increasing when the weather or utility costs haven’t changed.
  • The unit is old and needs extra attention.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist

Routine preventive maintenance keeps equipment running longer and more efficiently, as well as helping to reduce utility costs. When performing tasks on your HVAC maintenance checklist, these are the most important AC maintenance steps to remember.

Change Air Filters and Clean Ducts

Dirty air ducts lead to oversaturated filters. Clogged filters can reduce efficiency. Clean air ducts and change air filters monthly to ensure clean airflow. An air filter maintenance checklist is the perfect tool to accompany this leg of the maintenance procedure.

Inspect Thermostat Settings

Verify that the thermostat settings match the temperature output to ensure the AC unit works properly. 

Lubricate All Moving Parts

Confirm that all moving air conditioner parts are sufficiently lubricated to reduce friction and wear. Proper unit lubrication leads to improved system efficiency and helps reduce utility costs. 

Clean Evaporator and Condenser Coils

Dirty coils reduce the ability of an air conditioning system to cool and will likely cause the system to run longer. This can lead to increased energy bills and may shorten the air conditioner’s lifespan.

Inspect Electrical Connections

Inspect all cooling system wiring to ensure all connections are secure, terminals are clean, and there’s no frayed insulation. 

Test for Refrigerant Leaks

A proper air conditioner maintenance checklist will direct personnel to detect and address any refrigerant leaks to prevent environmental harm and maintain the system’s efficiency. 

Seasonal Air Conditioning Maintenance

Besides changing air conditioner filters and cleaning ductwork monthly, air conditioning system maintenance is divided between fall, spring, and annual responsibilities. Remember that any time an AC unit shows signs of potential issues, a maintenance person should inspect the system immediately.

Spring Maintenance Tasks

When the weather begins to warm up, it’s time to clean the area around the outdoor unit. Check the evaporator and coils, and clean them if necessary. If the monthly air filter change is due, this is also a good time to take care of that.

Fall Maintenance Tasks

Before the cold weather hits, it’s time to prepare for those chilly months. Check the outdoor unit condenser and coils. Test the heating unit to ensure it works properly, and perform any necessary cleaning.

Annual Checkups

If you don’t have an air conditioner specialist on staff, consider scheduling a professional HVAC technician to perform an annual comprehensive air conditioner inspection and to look at overheating systems. A thorough look at all HVAC systems can catch many problems that might be easily overlooked during a general seasonal inspection.

Professional Inspections

Smaller facilities with limited maintenance staff or facilities that don’t employ HVAC specialists may contract a certified technician to perform seasonal air conditioner maintenance. Most experienced professionals can thoroughly inspect a system and address problems more quickly and effectively than a general maintenance technician. This makes hiring a professional a highly cost-effective option for many organizations.

Benefits of Regular Professional Maintenance

Homeowners everywhere trust the long life and smooth operation of their state-of-the-art central air conditioner units and expensive home furnaces to outside professionals. A trained technician is also an excellent option for industrial and commercial facilities with advanced HVAC maintenance needs. Professionals are familiar with all air conditioners and furnace systems, making them ideal for ensuring critical components do their job correctly.

Extended Lifespan

The thorough routine inspections and maintenance services a professional provides ensure that critical components are sufficiently cleaned and lubricated, which reduces wear and extends the longevity of HVAC units.

Improved Air Quality

Professional service providers ensure all HVAC components are clean and filters are fresh, reducing dust and mold and optimizing indoor air quality.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

When you retain the services of an experienced professional HVAC technician, you can rest assured that systems will be calibrated and parts will be at peak performance. Everything runs more efficiently, which reduces overall energy usage.

Prevent Breakdowns

Certified technicians identify and address even the most minor issues before they escalate, which prevents breakdowns and maximizes HVAC efficiency.


There are upfront costs associated with retaining the services of a third-party technician, but this option does provide substantial long-term savings. A knowledgeable technician can easily spot nuanced issues that an on-staff general maintenance person might overlook, preventing costly repairs down the road and maximizing energy efficiency in the long and short term.

Industry Insights and Best Practices

Keeping up with industry best practices helps organizations make informed decisions about air conditioning and HVAC maintenance. From an industrial outdoor unit to internal hot air systems, these insights will help you improve your maintenance practices.

Establish a Maintenance Plan

Develop a planned maintenance guide that outlines all the necessary processes for conducting maintenance on HVAC systems. This ensures that all personnel properly conduct maintenance tasks and leaves few surprises for less experienced maintenance teams.

Innovations in HVAC Systems

Technological advancements and the development of eco-friendly cooling solutions drive significant growth in the air conditioning industry. Manufacturers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability and energy waste reduction. Professionals stay up-to-date on cutting-edge technologies focused on energy efficiency and environmental impact. 

Expert Insights on AC Maintenance

Experienced technicians can offer expert tips and practical advice to help your team improve their HVAC maintenance capabilities. Their insights are valuable resources for homeowners as well.

Schedule Your Maintenance with ServiceChannel

A powerful software solution helps facilities managers organize and analyze all aspects of HVAC maintenance, from creating a maintenance schedule to tracking common issues. ServiceChannel is the perfect system to help your organization address facility maintenance needs. Book a demo and explore the ServiceChannel platform today.

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