Your AC unit can be a lifesaver in the harsh heat of summer. That’s why it would be incredibly frustrating if it started running poorly or stopped functioning. Many AC problems are caused by wear and tear over time, and they can be prevented with a few simple operating and maintenance tips.

Clean or Replace Your Filter

All AC units have filters that filter dust, dirt and grime from the air that is being circulated into the house. When this filter gets clogged, air flow becomes obstructed. This causes the air conditioner to be much less efficient in air flow, cooling and even energy use.

AC units differ in where the filter is located and whether the filter is disposable or not. Check your air conditioner’s manual for information on this subject. If your filter is disposable, you’ll need to purchase a new one when it gets clogged. If it’s not, you’ll need to clean it. Some filters can easily be cleaned with some cleaner and a wet rag, but others may need to be cleaned off with a hose or in the bathtub.

Keep the Unit Away from Sources of Heat

Most people don’t think about items that are placed around the air conditioner, but some items can have effects on its operation. For example, lamps and televisions tend to produce a good deal of heat. This heat is usually not enough to damage the face of the unit, but it has other effects. Air conditioners work through a thermostat. When the thermostat reaches a certain temperature, it either turns off or on. When you have appliances that produce heat near the air conditioner, it causes the unit to run for much longer than it would otherwise. This means the unit is overworking itself and wasting energy for no reason. Keep any appliance that may produce heat away from the air conditioner if possible. If you can’t avoid it, you’ll need to be more diligent about manually turning the unit off and on.

Window Seals and Proper Insulation

One of the most common ways that AC units tend to suffer from large amounts of wear and tear in short amounts of time is constantly needing to have the unit on due to heat getting in and the cold air getting out. Sealing your windows, especially the one holding the air conditioner, along with properly insulating your home can save your AC from constant operation. It not only saves your air conditioner from wear and tear, but it also cuts down on heating costs in the winter.

Curtains and Shades

When it comes to cutting down on AC wear and tear, keeping your curtains and shades closed can make a big difference. While many people love to enjoy the bright and sunny days of summer, it’s best to avoid the hot rays of the sun when you’re indoors to keep the temperatures in your home down. Not only will this allow your air conditioner to automatically cut down on operation time with a lower temperature reading, but it will also help you avoid feeling like you need to turn the AC on at all.

Prepare for Winter

If you have a window air conditioner that is too heavy or too difficult to remove from your window before winter strikes, you’ll need to properly cover it as much as you can to avoid water buildup, leaf and bug accumulation, and ice damage. Cover the back with a small tarp and wrap it up with bungee cord. The front can also be covered by a cloth or another insulated covering.

If you can remove the AC, ensure that it is stored in a safe location where it won’t get damaged. It should be kept indoors preferably in a fairly warm and dry area.


If you are still worried about possible damage, issues or breakdowns in your AC unit, you can purchase a home warranty to help cover the costs. Not only does this insurance cover air conditioning units, but it also covers heating and other major appliances.

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