Summer Cooling Checklist: Getting Your AC Ready for the Summer

Ensure your AC is summer-ready!

Get expert tips for more efficient cooling.


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After a long winter, most New Jersey homeowners are chomping at the bit to start scheduling beach days, barbecues, and backyard bum-arounds. But something that is equally important as a full calendar of summer activities, is making sure your cooling system is prepared to keep your home cool throughout the entirety of the hot summer months. 

Your air conditioning system plays a pivotal role in your summer comfort, and Princeton Air is here to help you get ahead of the heat. We've put together a comprehensive summer AC maintenance checklist to keep your cooling system running efficiently and effectively. Some of these AC efficiency and maintenance tips are things you can do yourself, and others are tasks a professional air conditioning technician should handle - but all of them will help keep your cooling system running effectively, while wasting as little energy as possible. 

1. Replace Your Air Filters

One of the simplest, yet most crucial tasks when it comes to cooling system maintenance is replacing the air filters in your HVAC system. Air filters trap dust, pollen, and other airborne particles, preventing them from circulating through your home. Over time, these filters become clogged, which diminishes air quality and forces your AC to work harder, increasing energy consumption and reducing its lifespan. 

Changing your air filters should be done every 30-90 days, especially during high-use seasons like summer. A fresh filter not only improves air quality but also enhances the efficiency of your air conditioner.

2. Clear the Area Around Your Outdoor Unit

The outdoor component of your air conditioner, the compressor, needs adequate and unobstructed airflow. Ensure that there is at least a 12-inch clearance around the unit. Remove any leaves, twigs, and debris that have gathered during the off-season. Check for overgrown vegetation and trim any bushes or branches that impede airflow.

3. Check Your Thermostat

The thermostat connected to your air conditioner is much like the brain of your cooling system - telling your air conditioning unit when and how hard to work. Before the peak of summer heat, test your thermostat to ensure it's working correctly:

  • If your thermostat is battery operated, ensure it has a fresh set of batteries
  • Clean off any dust or debris that has accumulated on your thermostat with a damp cloth to ensure proper electrical operation of thermometers and controls. 
  • Perform a cooling test to make sure your AC turns on, and that it reaches the desired temperature in a timely manner

Spring is a great time to consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can learn your schedule and temperature preferences, making it easier to keep your home cool while saving energy when you’re away. Moreover, some models offer the convenience of adjusting settings remotely via a smartphone app, adding a layer of flexibility to your daily routines.

4. Schedule Professional HVAC Maintenance

While there are many aspects of air conditioner maintenance that you can handle on your own, a professional tune-up is essential to prepare your system for summer. At Princeton Air, our technicians conduct a thorough inspection and maintenance process that includes:

  • Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils: Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the system's life.
  • Checking refrigerant levels: Proper refrigerant levels are crucial to your AC’s cooling power. Low levels can lead to reduced efficiency and can cause the system to work harder, potentially leading to more significant issues like compressor damage.
  • Inspecting and tightening electrical connections: This is crucial as loose connections can lead to shorts and other electrical hazards.
  • Lubricating moving parts: This reduces friction and helps your system run more smoothly and quietly.

5. Clean Ducts and Vents

Consider hiring a professional duct cleaning service if you notice significant buildup, which can help improve airflow and efficiency. Dust and debris can accumulate in your ducts and can be circulated through your home when the system is in use. 

6. Consider a Maintenance Plan

Regular maintenance is key to the longevity and efficiency of your air conditioner. Joining the Princeton Air Club Membership is an excellent way to ensure your air conditioning system is maintained without the hassle of remembering to schedule services or facing unexpected high costs. With our Gold and Platinum Plans, members enjoy significant benefits including discounts on AC repairs, lifetime warranties on parts, and guaranteed priority service. Our comprehensive 12-point tune-ups for heating and air conditioning ensure your systems operate efficiently throughout the year. Moreover, our plans offer financial predictability with reduced or eliminated service charges and a loyalty credit system that contributes to future purchases. By entrusting your AC maintenance to Princeton Air, you can relax knowing that all aspects of your system's upkeep are professionally handled.

7. Consider AC Replacement During Spring

No air conditioner lasts forever. The average life expectancy of an air conditioner is between 15-20 years. If your system is nearing this age, it might be time to consider an AC replacement. Modern air conditioners, including heat pumps and ductless mini-split systems, are more efficient and can significantly reduce your home's energy consumption. Heat pumps are especially versatile as they provide both cooling and heating, making them an excellent upgrade for your home's HVAC system. Ductless mini splits also offer a flexible solution for homes without conventional ductwork, allowing for individual room control that can further optimize energy use and comfort. At Princeton Air, we can help you choose the right model for your needs and budget, and our team can install it with minimal disruption to your daily life.

Get started today by contacting Princeton Air and enjoy a cool, comfortable home all summer long. Call 609-779-2030 to schedule AC maintenance

JS Needham-Master HVACR Lic. # 3980 | M Burt-Plumbing Lic. # 8389 | NJHIC # 13VH00255200 | PAHIC # PA001066

Don’t just take our word for it, see what our customers have to say about our exceptional service!

  • Quality workmanship and premier customer service are hallmarks of Princeton Air in NJ. In the last 12 months I replaced two Lennox central air conditioners with new Lennox units and due to Hurricane Irene a new Lennox furnace. I have spent over 20K… Read more


  • I want to let you know that I had a chance to inspect the work you guys did for Pat Palmer and Mark Widmer. When I replaced a bathroom fan for them, I had to remove some drywall from their bathroom ceiling where Princeton Air had installed dense…

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  • The house is performing wonderfully. The gas usage for November and December was 247 therms. The gas usage for last December alone was 248 therms. The family room, where we spend a lot of our leisure time, is much closer to the temperature of the… Read more


  • Princeton Air personnel provided us with an energy efficient heating/air conditioning system that worked without current heating challenges. We were very happy with the service. The installers showed up on time and were clean and courteous and they… Read more

    Vicki, Lawrenceville

  • Princeton Air and Eric saved us from another cold night. You were there when PSE&G was not. Thank you.

    Susan, West Windsor

  • Technician was cordial, polite, & professional.

    Suzanne, Skillman

  • I just wanted to say how impressed and extremely happy I was with Princeton Air. The professionalism, courtesy, and the attention to detail of Matt, Jimmy, Nelson, and Wes was both refreshing and much appreciated. I noticed that Princeton Air used… Read more

    Bode, Princeton

  • Returned home at 5:00PM last evening after being away for 2 plus weeks to find the furnace completely shut heat, 48 degree temp in the house. Asked if someone could get there that evening and was advised that Eric, a Service Tech, was…

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    Mike, Princeton Junction

  • Sam got the bat out of my air conditioning vent in the master bedroom! Never complained. He also spotted a clogged pipe leaking in the attic from the unit. Replaced it quickly. Nice guy. Courteous and friendly. I appreciated his cheery demeanor… Read more

    Linda, Hopewell

  • We experienced a warranty issue that caused my ceiling to become water damaged, Sean's ability to stay calm helped me to calm down as well. I think it was his polite demeanor that caused me to remain a customer of your Company.

    Dawn, Lawrenceville

  • Milton called on us today to do an annual service on our air conditioning system. I found him to be very competent and knowledgeable. He worked quickly, but he explained things as he worked and gave me good advice. He was very thorough and…

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    Robert, Princeton

  • Regarding Paul, Jason, and Mark - Princeton Air is a wonderful company. We really appreciate all they did for us.

    Jim, Princeton Junction

  • I have been more than pleased with your technician, Mike. He is always very professional and allows me to call him directly to place a service call. He always responds to the service calls in a timely manner and is wonderful in dealing with the… Read more

    Mary, Lawrenceville

  • I just wanted to let you know how pleased I was with one of your techs Eric. I had a scheduled visit today and Eric was on time, very personable, and explained everything he was doing thoroughly. Eric is a fine representative of your company.…

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  • This is my first time using your service and I want to compliment you on your good personnel. Its a really fine service that you have. I would love to have Milton back again if I can.

    Joseph, Hamilton

  • I just had Eric leave my house and as I'm sure you know, this guy is amazing. I've had a lot of service people in my house and he comes in and cleans up after himself, is respectful, and polite. He asks if I have any questions and always gives me… Read more

    John, Princeton Junction

  • Thanks for the info, and thanks for bringing the job to completion. Marty and Marcel took care of business, and were happy campers. It was too cold (below 45 F) for the heat pump to fire, but I'll wait for a warmer day and keep an eye on it. The 7… Read more

    Pat & Toni, Princeton

  • Everyone has been extremely helpful, patient, knowledgeable, and competent. No matter who answers the phone, I am confident that my request issue will be promptly attended to with total professionalism. Whenever someone comes to the house to provide… Read more

    Loren, Lambertville

  • The technician did an excellent job. He was not only really good with the work that he did, he cleaned up and didnt take anything lightly, which I really appreciated.

    Kate, Yardley

  • The professionalism and expertise that I encountered from Kevin made me fully satisfied with this past Saturday's scheduled service. He explained in detail how my system works, he also pointed out the root cause of a problem I had been having and… Read more

    Bob, Princeton

  • This letter is commending Sean. Yesterday, he came to check the furnace at my home. He is efficient and his explanations are clear. He remembers where everything is, and I absolutely trust his work. Its very nice to know that I can rely on Sean. I… Read more

    Elizabeth, West Windsor

  • I just wanted to call to comment on Brennens performance. He came out to service my unit. Brennen was very professional and very knowledgeable. Thank you.

    Theodore, Hopewell

  • I just wanted to call in to say what a wonderful job Nick did over the weekend. I was amazed by the amount of time that he spent in the heat and humidity to get the unit running. I am thankful to Nick and the entire company that I had A/C over…

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    Leonore, Lawerenceville

  • Part of the reason why I stick with your company is because of Sean. He takes time to explain things to me and he helped me decide which new system to get last year. He is a real asset.

    James, Robbinsville

  • You guys were the first company to figure out how to replace the units here at Governors Lane as built. Congratulations. Chris et al. were great to work with. Thank you.

    John, Princeton

  • Eric handled himself very professionally and took the time to listen to me. Because of his sincere interest, will be preparing a proposal to substantially upgrade our system. He seems to know his profession well and handled me in the right manner.… Read more

    Vaughn, Pennington

  • I just wanted you to know that Rich is a very pleasant, professional and courteous person. All of your employees that have come here are the same. You guys must be doing something right.

    Linda, Morganville

  • Brennan performed the seasonal service on our A/C unit. We were very impressed. He took care of everything very efficiently and completely. He also quickly solved a potential problem. This is to commend Brennan for his fine work and his excellent… Read more

    Melvin, Lawrenceville

  • You have some great people working there. They are fantastic especially Jack and Eric.

    James, Skillman

  • On February 26, 2007 I experienced the frightening experience of having my gas carbon monoxide detector go off. I cannot say enough to the diligence and professional manner Eric demonstrated while trouble shooting. His persistence, expertise, and… Read more

    Doris, Plainsboro

  • Your guys have always been good, but these two men (Geoff and Rich) were the most polite, professional, and personable I've had. They represent your company very well.

    Janet, Monroe

  • Wanted to let you know that Eric performed yet another excellent maintenance on my contract. He has an excellent positive attitude coupled to a get it done right work ethic. It is a pleasure to have him here to take care of things. I never thought… Read more

    Jon, Cranbury

  • I am writing this letter to you to thank one of your employees. Paul noted a pin-hole leak on the side of the main water line that enters the building switchgear room. Had it not been for your conscientious employee, the consequences could have…

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    Robert, Cranbury

  • We returned home from a one week vacation to Aruba, at about 10:30 pm, to a 50 degree home. We had no heat. We called Princeton Air and the Service Rep was at our home within 25 minutes. Sean fixed the problem quickly. That is great service. You… Read more

    Frank and Mary, Lawrenceville

  • Yes, Mr. Needham my name is Samuel, I live in Hamilton, New Jersey and I just wanted to commend your staff, mainly Shelby and then the guys who came out over the last week. I was having a huge problem with my air conditioner, you guys ending up… Read more


  • Scott, my name is Jean. Princeton Air was here to see me at One Marcom. You sent a representative and he was exceptional, beyond exceptional. I was very pleased with the service and he wouldn't leave until it was corrected to the utmost degree. So,… Read more


  • Hi Scott, this is a customer, Karen. I had a new tech at my house this morning, and we were very pleased with him. He was very, very nice. In the past, well we've used Princeton Air at our house here, and our house before this on Courtney Drive.…

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  • Hi Scott, it’s Steve, general manager of the Nassau Club of Princeton. I just wanted to let you know on this Friday, that you know Jack's over here doing his stuff. And I can't tell you how pleased I am by signing that maintenance contract with your… Read more


  • My Name is Irma, I just recently had insulation. I just want to let you know that the men who were here that worked on the house, the main two on the team were Jim and Nestor. I want to let you know that the entire team, there were other men, that I… Read more


  • Hello, my name is Sunit in Flemington, New Jersey. This morning, I had your service technician come out to service my two heating units, Lennox. I can tell you in 20 years I've never seen a person showing such a professional attitude and doing such… Read more


  • Hey Scott, Tom here & it's Tuesday morning. I just wanted to call to say thank you very much for having your service guy come out last night. He got there a little before 8:00, he was done about 8:45, we're back to full operating… Read more


  • Mr. Needham, my name is Harriet; I am a customer of Princeton Air since I moved into Raven's Crest about ten years ago. Luckily I haven't had to have too many service calls but I did have an emergency today and within three hours of my phone call… Read more


  • Scott, my name is Michael; I'm a resident of West Windsor. I just had your tune-up, I have service with you, had it for years. Just had an air conditioning tune-up this morning. The technician was Alberto Martino and he did an absolutely fabulous… Read more


  • Rob and I want to thank you and Dennis, Ontrea, Francine, Chris, Marty, Mike and all of your crew for being so customer service friendly in handling our installation of our new A/C and furnace system. We can see why the original owners of our home… Read more

    Linda and Rob, Princeton Junction

  • I just want you to know what an excellent job your crew did installing our new Trane heating system on Tuesday morning. They arrived promptly and explained to me exactly what they would be doing. The three men worked as a team and were very… Read more

    Elaine, Lawrence

  • The technician (Kevin) was wonderfully polite and respectful of my home. He was very professional, patient, thorough, and showed a genuine concern for the well-being of my family

    Vera, Princeton