Most Arizona residents know lightning, rain and dust can be dangerous for Valley drivers, but did you know these weather issues and monsoon season can also damage your air conditioning unit? Monsoon storms can make your AC work harder, or worse yet, stop working altogether.

The monsoon season in Arizona officially runs from June 15 through September 30, so we may still have storms in our future. Here are a few tips for keeping your AC unit in good working order this monsoon season.

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Clean the condensation line

• During monsoon season, an AC unit can produce 5-10 gallons of water a day. If the drain line becomes blocked or clogged, water in the condensate pan may overflow and damage your home.
• The most common sign of a clogged AC drain line is when no water is dripping from the condensation line located outside your house.
• If you want to try to unclog the issue yourself, turn off the AC, locate the drain line exiting your home, then use a wet-dry vacuum to clear the clog and remove water and debris.
• If you aren’t comfortable performing this cleaning tactic, call a pro to service your unit and address the clog.

Clean the coil

• Storms can leave your outdoor unit covered in dust and dirt, which makes the unit run hotter and use more electricity.
• You can use a hose to spray off the outside of your unit after a storm, removing dust and debris. Run water over the coil to rinse it off, but avoid spraying water directly into the coil and getting internal AC components wet.
• Also, consider having your coil professionally cleaned by an AC technician once a year. This is especially important following the monsoon season.

Change the filter

• While most homeowners know they should change their AC filter monthly, often times this gets put on the back burner. Monthly changes are critical. Think about doing it each time you get your electric bill.
• A dirty filter can actually increase your power bill by 5-10%.
• Especially during the monsoon season, dirty filters allow more contaminants to infiltrate your home.

Get help from the professionals

• If you have any doubts about your AC unit, it’s a good idea to call in the pros to properly protect your system during the monsoon season.
• Trained technicians will be able to quickly figure out the source of your problems and fix them. 

In Arizona our AC units work harder than nearly everywhere else in the U.S. In fact, the average life expectancy of an AC unit in the Valley is about 8-10 years.

To get the most from your AC unit:

• Keep blinds and drapes closed to limit sun exposure indoors.
• Thermostats can pick up heat from lamps, TVs and appliances, so turn these off when they aren’t in use.
• Consider planting shrubs or trees near your outdoor AC unit. Providing shade leads to less electricity being used. But, be careful not to plant too closely or you’ll restrict airflow to your unit.
• Set your thermostat and forget it. You won’t conserve energy by constantly changing the thermostat. Set it at the highest comfortable temperature, then leave it alone. Or, try a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust for times when you are away or sleeping.

Monsoon season is also a good time to scheduling routine AC maintenance to ensure your unit is ready for the winter months ahead.


Mike Donley and his father, Jim, have provided honest, caring air conditioning, plumbing, heating, sewer repair services to Arizonans since 1976. Family-owned Donley Service Center has also been honored twice with the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics Award.