The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is telling homeowners to do a little maintenance before cranking up their central air conditioner for the summer season.

“Heating and cooling is the single biggest energy consumer in a home, and accounts for about 40 percent of all the energy used by homeowners," said Steve Yurek, president and chief executive of the AHRI. "That's why taking steps to ensure the unit is running as efficiently as possible can help offset cooling costs this summer."

Among the association's tips:

Check and clean or replace the air filter.

Clear leaves and debris around the condensing unit and occasionally clean it with a water hose.

Ensure vents are not blocked by furniture.

The association is also recommending homeowners hire a North American Technician Excellence-certified professional to service their HVAC system.

"With proper maintenance, central air conditioning units should last at least 12 to 15 years," said Yurek. "Homeowners need to regularly service their central air conditioners to keep them running smoothly. Spring is a great time to think about getting service before hot weather arrives and the rush for service is in full swing.”