The outdoor component of your air conditioning system probably gets a lot of attention. And since it is bombarded by leaves, precipitation, and perhaps even some insects, it deserves that attention. But the indoor component of your air conditioning system deserves some attention, too. Provide it with the proper air conditioning maintenance services, and you won't have to worry as much about future breakdowns and repairs. So, how do you care for your indoor AC coil? Here are a few tips.

1. Change the Air Filter

People often think of changing the air filter as a task that benefits their furnace. But during the summer, the air that circulates through your home also moves through your indoor AC coil. If the filter is clogged and dirty, or if you do not have a filter in place, the coil will start accumulating dirt. A dirty coil won't exchange heat efficiently, so your home may not cool very well -- and your energy bills may climb higher and higher. Changing your filter monthly is the best thing you can do for your indoor AC coil.

2. Check the Wires

While it is not wise to do any electrical work yourself, you can at least look over all of the cords leading into your AC coil. If any of these cords appear frayed or otherwise damaged, call an electrician or HVAC contractor ASAP. Running an air conditioner with a damaged cord is not only a fire hazard but can also short out the system and lead to more serious problems. Until the HVAC contractor arrives, turn the power off to the unit (at the circuit breaker) to avoid such risks.

3. Stay on the Lookout for Ice

Also look over your coil every couple of days, and take note if the coils have ice on them. Ice accumulation means that the coil is not passing enough coolness out into the air. Instead, the coils are growing colder and colder until ice forms on them. Ice accumulation may be due to a blockage in the ducts, a dirty and clogged filter, or an electrical issue with the coil itself. Turn your system off, let the ice thaw, and then change the filter and clean the coil. If ice forms again, call an HVAC technician. They can take a closer look and thwart the problem. 

4. Clean the Coil

Every two or three years, you will want to clean the indoor coil to remove dust and dirt. The easiest way to do this is with a dedicated coil cleaner. Place a thick sheet of cardboard under the coil, and then spray the coil with the coil cleaner until it is saturated. The coil cleaner will slowly drip down, and as it does, it will take the dirt off the coil with it. If the coil still looks a little dirty after this first application, you can repeat the process. Only in the most serious of cases will you need to rub or wipe the coils to get them clean. 

5. Run a Dehumidifier

Running a dehumidifier may sound like a strange way to care for your AC coil. However, consider that your AC coil's function is, in part, to remove moisture from the air so the air feels cooler. If you let a dehumidifier do some of this work, you take the burden off the coil, which will help it last longer. Portable dehumidifiers don't cost very much and are very effective.

To learn more about caring for your indoor coil, talk to your HVAC contractor. They can give you more specialized instructions based on the exact make and model of your unit.