If your AC isn't working as well as it used to, then you might be a little bit worried. However, this is perfectly natural, since air conditioners will lose a bit of their efficiency over time. That being said, there are some techniques and maintenance procedures that you can use to improve their output and reduce your electricity bill.
Dirty air conditioners will give you less cold air and use up more electricity than clean units. To actually clean out your AC, you won't need any specialized tools or anything. A screwdriver and a vacuum with a hose attachment will be sufficient in most cases.
Make sure that the AC is turned completely off before opening up the unit. If you don't know where this is exactly, then it's the bulky box with a fan that is positioned fairly close to the exterior of the house. A screwdriver will be enough to open up the outer box, at which point you will likely see a lot of dust, dirt, and even leaves.
Using the vacuum hose, remove as much of this material as you can. Make sure to be gentle when handling the fan blade, since they can be fairly fragile. Once you have removed as much of the debris as you can, you can close up the the box.
This isn't an extremely intensive cleaning method, but it will give you a good boost in efficiency. The less material there is to clog up the air conditioner, the easier it will be for the machine to function correctly, blowing cold air into your home while venting hot air outside.
Preventing Future Problems
Once you have cleaned out the air conditioner, you can look at the different ways that you can prevent such a situation from happening again in the future. There will always be a little dust that gets into the air conditioner, but there are measures that you can take to drastically reduce the need for these cleanings in the future.
To do so, you will want to clear a space around the air conditioner and keep it clean. The vents in the sides of the air conditioner are fairly large (which is necessary for the AC to perform its job correctly), which makes it easy for nearby dirt to get blown inside. Simply sweeping the surrounding area every week or so will reduce the amount of dirt that gets inside the AC.
You also want to reduce the amount of foliage that is near the AC. Trees that are above the unit can deposit a lot of leaves inside the unit, and pine needles can be even more frustrating.
For HVAC services, contact a company such as Dependable Air Conditioning Co Inc.