Inspection of Air Conditioning System
Can Save Money, Sweat and Tears In The Long Run

ASHI Recommends Regular System Checkup


Sheena Quinn
Public Communications, Inc.

The first days of summer are rapidly approaching, which means cookouts, baseball, blockbuster movies and sweat. To escape the summer heat, many Americans rely on air conditioning systems in their home. But before turning on the system this summer, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends a seasonal checkup to ensure it is running properly.

"Routine maintenance of your air conditioning is part of being a sensible and smart homeowner," says Mike Casey, president of ASHI, the largest non-profit organization for professional home inspectors with nearly 6,000 members. "There are things every homeowner can do to save a lot of money, frustration and sweat in the long run."

Five Simple Steps

Because a home cooling system can be an expensive investment, Casey recommends several easy steps homeowners can take to help prevent problems from occurring.

  • Inspect the filters - The first step in maintaining a well-functioning air conditioning system is to inspect the air filters. These should be changed or cleaned at least twice a year. Monthly maintenance is recommended if the system is in constant use or if the air is dusty and dirty.
  • Make sure the machine is properly lubricated - Over time, friction can increase within the machine. Oil the motor and bearings twice a year. Be sure to turn off all electricity to the unit when servicing.
  • Inspect the fan belts - Check fan belts and pulleys for wear and proper tension. Have a professional replace worn parts.
  • Clean the outdoor condensing unit - Foreign objects and dirt can affect the performance of the machine. Brush away or hose off any insects, dirt or other items on the outdoor condensing unit.
  • Clean the drain line -Inspect the drain line to make sure there are not any problems with the termination. If algae is present, wash the affected area with chlorine.

Additionally, if you have a window air conditioning unit, check the window and sill for decay, inspect the unit for rusting and spot paint if any rust is present.

The Role of the Inspector

Homeowners can also schedule an inspection with a qualified home inspector.

As part of a complete overview of the condition of the home, an ASHI inspector will examine installed air conditioning systems, inspecting the central and through-wall cooling equipment to ensure it is functioning properly. The inspector will describe any conditions of the system that might be of concern. If problems exist, the inspector may recommend a consultation with a professional air-conditioning company.

"Homeowners often think of home inspections only during the buying process. Scheduling a regular inspection is like a 'tune-up' for your home," commented Casey. "And obtaining an ASHI inspection will help not only identify problems with your air conditioning system, but will help determine if there are any other areas of your home that might need attention."

For More Information

To learn more about the American Society of Home Inspectors or to obtain the names of ASHI members in a particular community, contact the organization at 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL, 60616; by phone at 800-743-2744, or on the Web by visiting