1. Whatever you do, don’t ever run your central air-conditioning when the outside temperature is lower than 60°F. Doing so could cause serious damage to the compressor.
2. Have an HVAC professional inspect, clean, and tune up the system after the temperature gets above 60°F, but before you really need to use the AC. You’ll catch any problems in time to have them fixed before the hot, sticky weather sets in — and before the repair pros get so busy that you might have to wait for days before help arrives.
Prolonging the life of your AC system begins with giving the outdoor condenser unit plenty of elbow room so that nothing interferes with the free flow of air. In particular:
- Don’t plant anything but grass or an ultra-low groundcover within a 2-foot radius of the unit. And keep shrubs trimmed so that their branches don’t invade the 24-inch no-go zone.
- Better yet, forget plants in that area altogether. Instead, cover the surrounding soil with bricks, paving stones, or gravel.
- Keep the grilles clear of falling leaves and twigs. (Pruning some branches from nearby trees could make this chore a lot easier!)
- To reduce the amount of dust that flies into the unit, add a thick layer of mulch to any nearby planting beds.
- On mowing day, bag your grass clippings or at least send them flying away from the unit.