Keeping your air conditioning ducts clean and well maintained can save you serious money on your power bill. There is also some evidence that dirty air conditioning ducts accumulate pathogens and allergens that can affect the quality of the air that you and your family are breathing.
Without regular cleaning, your air conditioning system can experience a decline in performance, which increases energy consumption and costs more to run. Fortunately, there are few simple tricks of the trade that you can do at home to keep your air conditioning ducts and system clean and efficient. By using less power, a clean air conditioner is also better for the environment.
1. Replace or clean the air filters
Clean filters in your air conditioning unit can reduce energy consumption by 5-15%. Clogged and dirty filters obstruct airflow leading to a decrease in your air conditioner’s efficiency. Any air that bypasses your filter can carry dirt into the unit’s evaporator coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat, making your air conditioner run warmer and use more energy.
Cleaning or replacing your filters every few months helps to prevent dirt and dust entering the system and contaminating the air conditioning ducts. The combination of dirt and moisture can create the perfect breeding ground for mould and other pathogens.
Some ducted air conditioning unit filters can be cleaned and reused; others must be replaced. Check with the instruction manual that came with your unit. If you’re replacing filters, always use the highest efficiency air filter specified by the manufacturer.
Replace or clean your air conditioning filters every month or two while in use over summer, and more often if in constant use. If you have pets or live in a dusty environment the filters may need more regular attention.
Difficulty level: relatively easy. Most people should be able to clean or replace their ducted air conditioning filters without assistance. If you’re unsure, called a licensed technician and they can show you where the air filters are located and how to keep them maintained.
2. Spring clean around the condenser unit
Keeping the area around your air conditioner’s condenser unit clean and clear allows good airflow and helps prevent the air conditioner coils from becoming dirty. The condenser unit is the part of your air conditioner that sits outside the house. Dust, dead leaves and grass along with floating seeds such as dandelions are all sucked into the unit by the central fan. These can block airflow and reduce your air conditioner’s ability to cool the air.
Difficulty level: very easy. Spring clean around your air conditioning condenser unit at least twice a year. Remove any debris and dirt from around the unit. Trim back any plant foliage that is growing around or close to the condenser.]
3. Clean the coils and fins
The evaporator and condenser coils, located in the outside condenser unit, collect dirt over time. This reduces airflow and the ability of the coils to absorb heat from the air, making your air conditioner noticeably warmer and less energy efficient.
- Always remember to disconnect power to the condenser unit before cleaning.
- Vacuum the fins of the evaporator and condenser coils using a soft brush accessory on your vacuum cleaner. Be gentle; the fins are easily crushed or bent which blocks airflow through the coils. A special tool from appliance stores called a ‘fin comb’ can be used to straighten any bent fins. If large areas of the fins are crushed and bent, it’s best to call in a licensed technician.
- Unscrew the fan and vacuum any debris from inside.
- Use a hose to wash the fins down.
- Older air conditioning units should have a few drops of electric motor oil added to the lubrication ports in the fan motor and compressor. New units are completely enclosed and don’t require lubrication.
Difficulty level: moderate. If you don’t feel confident cleaning your air conditioner’s coils by yourself, check regularly inside the condenser unit and call a licensed technician when they start looking obviously dirty. Otherwise, clean your air conditioning coils once a year at the start of summer.
4. Check the condensate drain for blockages
The condensate drain is located in the inside unit of your air conditioner. Blocked condensate drains prevent your air conditioning ducts from reducing humidity. The excess moisture can cause musty odours in your home and allow water damage to occur on walls and carpets.
Occasionally passing a stiff wire through the drain channels can help prevent them from becoming blocked. If they do become blocked they will need to be cleaned properly. Check the instruction manual that came with your unit on how to clean the condensate drain.
Difficulty level: moderate. You can check to see if your air conditioner’s condensate drain is blocked by checking the condensate pan, which is usually located directly under the unit. If you can see water standing in the pan, the condensate drain is probably clogged and needs cleaning.
If you don’t feel confident doing this at home, call a local air conditioning professional to clean the line for you. Check the condensate pan several times through summer to ensure that water condensation is being removed.
5. Clean return air vents
Locate any return air vents around your home and periodically check to make sure that nothing is covering them and blocking air flow. Common impediments to air flow include furniture, paper and toys. If you have pets or your home is dusty you can unscrew and remove the covers then dust and vacuum inside the air vents to help keep the air conditioning ducts clean.
Difficulty level: very easy
When to call an air conditioning duct professional
Keeping your air conditioning ducts clean should be a part of your regular spring cleaning routine each year. If you don’t feel up to the job yourself, you can check your air conditioner regularly to see if it needs cleaning and call in a professional to do the job for you. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to have your air conditioner duct and unit cleaned and serviced annually by a licensed professional.
Get your air conditioning units operating at peak efficiency ready for a long, hot and humid Brisbane summer! You’ll save money on your power bill and enjoy cooler, fresher and healthier air inside your home all summer long.
Crown Power are your local air conditioning experts throughout Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. Call us today and ask how one of our experienced technicians for advice on cleaning your air conditioning ducts.
Need advice on cleaning air conditioning ducts? Contact the team at Crown Power today!