Summertime in Michigan gets quite hot near its southern border. One day it's 60 degrees in the sun and the next day the thermometer can register 90 degrees in the shade. So if you can't remember the last time you maintained your air conditioning unit, it's probably time for a tune-up.

Don't Simply Flip The Switch

You might think that all you need to do is slide the switch from heat to cool on your thermostat. Do yourself a favor and don't unless you're certain that your air conditioner is raring to go. HVAC systems tend to be pretty hardy, but they still need a little seasonal TLC, especially when a cooler spring suddenly blossoms into raw summer heat. So what do you do? If you've already had air conditioning maintenance services within the last year or so, you can do some visual checks yourself. First, make sure that the grass and weeds are cut away from the compressor. Next, make sure that your unit looks clean. Check the hoses that attach the unit to your home for cracks. If the filters, coils, and fins are super dirty and you don't feel comfortable cleaning them, call your local air conditioning maintenance service to do it for you. A continuously-run dirty unit isn't energy efficient and can lower the lifespan of your air conditioner. After you've visually checked your outdoor unit, go back into your house and turn the thermostat to the off position. The only thing that you are going to want on is the fan. Switch it on from the thermostat and run it about 10 minutes or so. After all, it's been dormant for a few months and needs to stretch its legs. Then go back outside and watch the fan. It should run without any wobbles, squeaks, or clunks.

Fan, Filters and Allergens

Seasonal allergy sufferers beware. You risk throwing all that wonderful spring pollen throughout your home if you turn on your A/C without clean filters. Don't use a HEPA filter for your air conditioning thinking that it will trap all the pollen and tiny particulates. Although they are 99.7 percent effective, they also restrict air flow which can cause condensation and moldiness. Besides, HEPA filters are more expensive. Cheaper fiberglass and pleated filters still catch much of the gunk that can clog your HVAC system. Whatever filter you choose, make sure to change them monthly. Both your air conditioning and your allergies will thank you.

Now that the AC fanfare and filters are good to go, you should be ready to roll coolly into your southern Michigan summers.