Annual a/c maintenance is due

            Every spring, before the weather gets too warm, call a qualified service technician to inspect and tune-up your air conditioning unit.

            During this annual maintenance visit, the tech will be able to tell you if your a/c will make it through the summer or if it needs some repairs. If the unit is old, the service technician might recommend that you replace it.

            In addition, you can do two things on your own things to make sure your a/c stays in good working order:

1. Clean or replace the air conditioner filter. If you have a reusable filter, wash it and dry it every month during the summer. If you have a disposable filter, replace it.

            A dirty filter can get clogged with dust and dirt, and that can restrict the air flow. That will make your system work extra-hard to cool your house, which wastes energy and can drive up your electric bill.

            Plus, a dirty filter can push dust back into the home, which makes the air less healthy, especially if someone in your family has allergies or asthma.

            2. Keep the area around the outside of the air conditioner unit clean. Remove dirt, grass and any debris that has collected around it so those things don’t restrict its air flow. Trim shrubs away so they don’t touch it.

            You also should rinse your unit every now and then—but shut off the power to the unit first. A tip: Never use a power washer to clean the outdoor unit.