Now that warm weather is upon us, one way to lower energy comsumption in the home is to make certain that room air conditioners are properly maintenance and sensibly operated.

An air conditioner that has been left in place in the wall or window since last summer should be brushed and vacuumed of dust, dirt, leaves and other debris. Special attention should be paid to cleaning the outside grill and the outside of the condenser coils.

In many cases, it is possible to slide the entire machine inside so that work can conveniently be done inside the room. the inner side of the condenser coils should be cleaned. Reach in from the top while the machine is ut of its sleeve or housing.

Also vacuum the back inner sides of the coils near the front as well as those at the back. use the narrow nozzle to remove dust and lint from fan blades and any other places where dirt has accumulated. Then clean off the coils on the front (the part that faces the insude) as well as the grill which movement of air and efficient transmission of heat.

You should also lubricate the fan motors on those models that require lubrication. Many of the newer models do not, but check the manufacturer's instructions on servicing. Use 20-weight oil, applying a few drops to each motor bearing.

Next, inspect all metal parts of the housing and internal mechanism to see if any rust spot are evident. If so, touch these up with a metal primer, after first using steel wool and a wire brush to scrape all the rust off. Pay particular attention to the parts that are exposed to the weather and to the pan at the bottom that catches the condensation.

It is important that this plan pan slopes slightly toward the outside so water at the bottom will run out harmlessly. On most at conditioners, there is a small hole or tube through which the condensed water runs out. Make certain this tube and its opening are clear so water will not build and possibley overflow on the inside.

After the unit has been replaced in its normal position, remove the air filter and check to see if it needs cleaning (in the case of a unit that has a permanent filter) or replacement. The easiest way to check this is to hold the filter up to a bright light and look through it. You should be able to see the light easily. The filter should be checked in this manner at least once a month during the season.

Bearing in mind that an air conditioner's function is to draw heat from the interior and dissipate it to the exterior, make certain everything possible is done to minimize the amount of heat created or absorbed on the inside in order to tighten the load on the unit.

Since any uutside heat that finds its way inside adds to this load, the first thing that should be checked is the insulation and weatherstripping. This is no different from the steps taken during the winter. The same things that keep heat inside during the winter will also serve to kkeep heat outside durin the summer.