How quickly the temperatures rise! How well can you depend on your AC unit to do the job when spring turns to summer? Keeping comfortable and not paying higher energy bills in the hotter months depends on how well you properly maintained your outdoor AC unit all year long.

Here are five tips to keeping your air conditioner humming. (Remember to shut off the power to the unit at the exterior shut-off and interior breaker boxes before doing any maintenance on your AC unit.)

Debris – where?

When autumn leaves fall, they can drop inside the condenser/compressor unit. Remove the cage grill top and vacuum out dirt and leaves.

My AC has fins?

The fins located inside the unit need attention, too. Lift the outer cover, brush the dirt off the fins, and use a gentle spray from your garden hose to wash away dirt between the fins. (Do not use a pressure washer; these fins are delicate.) Use a butter knife or specially designed tool to gently straighten any bent fins.

I don’t want to see you!

You may not want your AC unit to be a landscape ornament, but hiding it behind vegetation is not good for its health. Clear plants within two feet of the unit in all directions to allow proper air flow around the condenser/compressor.

Are you on the level?

Maybe not. Soil under the pad supporting your AC unit settles, causing the pad to tip slightly. Use rot-resistant shims to level the pad and avoid early failure of your unit.

Ready for something new?

Everyone likes something new to wear in the spring. It’s time to throw away your furnace filter and replace it with a new one. Your air conditioner will thank you.

Spring is also a good time to schedule a professional maintenance and check of your HVAC system.