Your home's air conditioning system is extremely important for keeping your family comfortable during the hotter months of the year. It can only perform this all-important task, though, when your AC system is properly maintained. AC maintenance should always involve the following steps. 

Change the Air Filter 

One of the easiest preventative maintenance steps you can perform on your unit is changing out the air filter. Doing so is important because if this part gets too dirty, particles and debris will enter your AC system and make it run much more inefficiently.

It's typically recommended to change your air filter every couple of months. Air filter replacements may be more frequent if you have a lot of pets or if someone in your family smokes indoors. To inspect this filter, simply open up the filter grate. Take the filter out and inspect it in some light. If both sides are extremely dirty, you'll need to find a suitable replacement.

Keep Area Around Outside Unit Clean

The outside unit is one of the most important components of your HVAC system to maintain. You can avoid a lot of complications just by keeping the area around this unit clean. This should involve picking up leaves, cutting down weeds, and making sure grass doesn't grow too close.

You also might consider setting up some type of protective barrier around this outside unit. A small wooden fence, for example, can keep leaves and other debris from collecting around your outside unit. Then it can perform at an optimal rate. 

Be Aware of Low Refrigerant Levels 

When your AC system runs low on refrigerant, it has a hard time bringing cool air into your home. There are several warning signs that indicate your unit is low on this refrigerant. One of the most obvious is when your unit fails to bring in cool air, even when the cooling setting on your thermostat is on. Higher energy bills may also indicate a low refrigerant level.

If these signs are present, you should immediately contact a licensed HVAC technician. They'll check the refrigerant levels and fill them up safely if they've become too low. This licensed contractor can also inspect your system for refrigerant leaks. If they're identified, the contractor can seal them up with long-lasting patches. 

You probably paid a lot for your air conditioning system, and as such, you don't want it breaking down prematurely and leaving your family with uncomfortable temperatures. You can avoid these issues with some simple maintenance steps, which should be taken on a consistent basis.