We may complain about the long winter, but now it’s AC time. Before you turn the thermostat to “cool,” if you have not done so already, have you remembered to check the AC filter? That pesky dust we wand off our furniture each week clings to the AC unit’s filter. Dirt and grime clog those filters over time, seep into our air conditioning equipment, and soon cause our AC system to fail. When the steamy summer days arrive, how can we ensure our air conditioning system is performing well?

Spring cleaning should not end at windows and drawers. Before the hot weather hits, if you have not done so yet, you should contact an HVAC professional to do a pre-season check of your system. This check-up should include:

It’s often easier and less expensive to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up.’ You should leave adjustments to refrigerant levels, lubrication of moving parts and inspections to the professionals. But you can keep the AC unit components in better working order by removing dirt that coats the evaporator, condenser coils and blower through a simple DIY activity – changing the AC filter.

A build-up of dust on evaporators and condensers reduces the AC unit’s ability to operate efficiently, raising your energy costs and lowering the life of your system. Grime building up on the blower components reduces the airflow in the AC system, severely degrading its efficiency.

The professionals at EnergyStar, a voluntary program created by the EPA to promote energy-efficient and environmentally responsible products, recommend checking or changing the AC filter monthly for optimum performance of your system. Your HVAC consultant can show you how to choose the right filter for your needs and how to install it.

Before the lazy days of summer arrive, buy and install a new filter for your AC unit to ensure it runs efficiently and effectively the entire season.