Maintaining a Central Air System

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated June 4, 2021)

During the heat of the summer, a working central air system can make life much more enjoyable. Due to this, it is extremely easy to tell when such a system begins to go on the fritz. Properly maintaining a central air system can go a long way to help prevent any unwanted difficulties from arising. While exceptionally easy, maintaining a central air system will also help protect the valuable piece of equipment that is also an investment.


  • Screwdrivers
  • Trash bags
  • Blower
  • Fin comb
  • 4-foot level
  • Open-end wrench
  • Allen wrench set
  • Electric machine oil, or all-purpose oil
  • Wood shims
  • Replacement fan (if necessary)
  • Rags
  • Gloves


  1. Check for noisy operation. One of the easiest ways to begin maintaining a central air system is to simply listen. Periodically go outside and listen to your fan, and see if it seems to be operating too noisily. The most common cause for a noisy air conditioner fan is that one of the blades somehow became bent. When a fan blade gets bent, it throws the balance of the unit out of whack, and causes the motor to work much harder than it normally would need to.
  2. Clear intake fins and coil. Make sure that the area around the intake fins and coil are free of any dirt and debris. This area of your air conditioner will often attract such messes, and make it much more difficult for the unit to work properly. Use a brush, and a garden hose to remove this mess.
  3. Shut off power. Before opening your air conditioner to do any interior maintenance, make sure that you shut off the power. The simplest way to do this to simply unplug the unit, but you can also disconnect the power at the junction box by throwing the breaker. Be sure that you leave a note saying not to turn the power back on, to ensure that no one accidentally does that.
  4. Remove fan assembly. In order to repair a bent fan blade, or even to inspect the interior of the air conditioner, you will need to remove the fan assembly. Often times, this can be done by loosening the bolts that are found around the edge of the fan assembly, and setting them aside. Remember where you put them so you don't loose them. Once the assembly has been removed, clean out any dirt and debris that may have gotten inside the unit, as well as repairing any bent fan blades. It is always best to take a fan blade into the shop to have it fixed properly.
  5. Check fins. With the fan assembly removed, take a look at the fins to ensure that they are not bent or out of shape. These fins often look like a bunch of black, metal paper stacked vertically. Clean these fins, and straighten any bent ones at the same time, by using a fin comb.
  6. Lubricate the fan motor. Take a look at fan motor by removing the blades from the assembly. Unloosen the setscrew that is holding the fan in place, and set them both aside. Use either multipurpose oil or machine oil that has been formulated for electric motors, and lubricate all the moving parts. Often there are oil ports that you can use to apply the oil to areas of the air conditioner that you may not normally be able to reach.
  7. Reassemble, and ensure unit is level. Reassemble everything, and then check to ensure that it is level. Use a 4-foot level, set on top of the unit, to make sure that everything is level. Make sure that you quarter the unit when checking it to see that it is actually level in the cardinal directions. Use either shims, or adjust the feet of the unit to ensure that everything is level again.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Cottage Style Home Decorating

If you are looking for a taste of the country, but don't want to appear too rural, then cottage style home decorating is ...

Discover More

Leg of Lamb

Are you looking for an alternative to steak, pork, or the other traditional meats? If so then you should try leg of lamb. ...

Discover More

Cooking for Those with Celiac Disease

Cooking for those with celiac disease is possible, though it will often require a bit of ingenuity on your part, is ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Choosing Efficient Air Filters

Choosing efficient air filters is one of the most important processes that a homeowner can do to ensure that their HVAC ...

Discover More

Replacing an Electric Water Heater

Once you've ruled out the possibility of repairing your heater, and you realize that it's time to replace it, look for an ...

Discover More

Installing Radiant Floor Heating

Do your floors have a tendency to get cold? No one really enjoys waking up to a cold floor, and this can happen at any ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)