Angie's List: Maintaining your air conditioner

As the summer approaches and temperatures are increasing, now is the time to make sure your air conditioner is working properly. It can save you from a costly break and it could save you money now on your utility bills.

Darren Scaggs is a service technician and says, "It is true that you can lose up to 5 percent efficiency because if the system it not operating the ways it's supposed to such as a dirty coil, overheated motors, lack of refrigerant, effects how that system is efficient."

Homeowners can increase their unit's efficiency simply by having it tuned up once a year. Scaggs also says it's time for a repair "if the outdoor coils are dirty, if the cooling capacity is not up to par and they are not getting air flow out."

According to the consumer review website Angie's List, regularly tuning your air conditioner can save you up to 15% on your energy bills. The website also suggests that each degree you dial below 78 increases your energy consumption by about 8 percent. If your monthly electric bill is $100, you'll save $8 a month with each degree you can stand above 78.

A healthy air conditioner will not only run properly and save you money now, but finding potential problems before they arise will keep you from having an unexpected failure in the middle of the hot months to come.