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Summer has arrived early in many parts of the country. Maintaining an air conditioner not only keeps the unit working at its potential, it also extends the equipment's useful life.

Some actions require a professional - adding coolant, lubrication, or checking the compressor - but a homeowner can handle basic tasks. The goal is to maximize air flow and the unit's ability to absorb and release heat. Before beginning, shut off the power.

On the internal blower unit,

  1. Open the case and clean the condenser coil with a soft brush or vacuum attachment.
  2. Test the drain by  pouring water into the condenser pan.

On the external heat pump,

  1. Trim any bushes that surround or touch the unit. 
  2. Use the garden hose to clear the exterior grill of dead leaves and dirt.
  3. Carefully remove the case, then brush the fan blades, and clean the condenser coils with a mild soap and water.
  4. Check the level of the unit. Don't shove it back into place because that can damage the copper tubes that transport the coolant. Instead, use shims.
American Modern's breakdown endorsement  extends the home's policy to cover the failure of major electrical items such as the air conditioning system.

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