Summer is definitely here and you’re feeling the heat, but unfortunately, a little more than usual this year because you forgot to book your regular air conditioning maintenance before the actual heatwave hit! However, no need to panic – there are a few DIY checks you can still do before summer ends, and of course, there’s still time for you to schedule a consultation with a service professional. It’s worth remembering though that neglecting one of your home’s biggest investments could mean facing higher energy costs, constant repair bills and a possible unit replacement … all because you forgot to pick up the phone. Here is an air conditioning maintenance checklist that may just help you be a bit more prepared next year!
Why is regularly maintaining your air conditioner important?
Maintaining an air conditioner is not just about keeping it consistently functional, regular maintenance has a range of other benefits as well, both practical and economical.
Well-maintained systems can last years longer than neglected ones, meaning you’ll be spending less money on costly repairs, and in the worst-case scenario, having to buy a new air conditioner entirely.
Another benefit of regular air conditioning maintenance is that it can increase the efficiency of your system, which means it will continually and sufficiently cool the air on those hotter-than-hot summer days. And that means saving money on your energy bills!
Some maintenance jobs should only be done by a trusted air conditioning service provider, however, there are a number of DIY jobs that are easy to tackle as part of your regular home maintenance regime.
Clean your unit’s filters regularly and have them replaced if needed
One of the easiest but most important steps on your air conditioning maintenance checklist should be the cleaning and/or replacement of your unit’s filters. Not only do air conditioners work by pulling warm air in and pushing cool air out, they also simultaneously filter dust and debris from the air, resulting in a constant supply of clean, circulated air into your home.
Failing to maintain the productivity of your filters will not only affect their efficiency, it can also lead to negative health impacts like allergies and asthma. Dirty filters can also result in a noisy system … and that’s certainly something we should all avoid!
Some units have disposable filters that can be replaced, others have re-usable filters that require cleaning with fresh water, so before you begin servicing an air conditioner yourself, make sure you check the manufacturer’s manual for verification.
Ideally filters should be washed or replaced after around 200 hours of use, however, every few months or so is a good time frame to work to. If it’s an endlessly long hot summer and you find that you’re using your air conditioner more often than usual, you should probably consider cleaning or replacing your filters more regularly.
Filters requiring cleaning can be washed by hand in clean water and left to completely dry before they’re replaced. Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean filters as this can cause irreparable damage.
If your unit requires the filters to be replaced, it’s always wise to have a service professional do this for you, to ensure the job’s done safely and efficiently.
Keep the area in and around your air conditioner clean and clear
Another important aspect of air conditioning maintenance is to ensure that your unit stays clean. A build-up of debris (whether it’s inside or outside your home), means the unit needs to work harder which can increase its running costs and therefore energy usage.
If your system is located inside the home, gently wipe down the unit with a damp cloth to remove dust including in the vents, which will prevent them from becoming clogged and blowing dust throughout your home. Also make sure curtains and furniture aren’t in the way, as this will affect your system’s ability to function properly.
In the case of outdoor air conditioning units, clean up any debris (like dirt and wayward leaves) from around the unit, trim any overhanging branches regularly, and remove any visible obstructions from vents to keep your system running efficiently.
Have your ducting checked and cleaned regularly by a professional
Even if you can recognise the ducting fairly easily in your air conditioning unit (although in many units it’s hidden within ceilings and walls), would you know what to look for in terms of damage and/or wear and tear? Probably not, which is why it’s important to consult a service professional when this part of your air conditioning maintenance is due.
They’ll be able to pinpoint any holes or damage, and they can also check your unit for a build-up of moisture, which can lead to the growth of mould.
Book in regular maintenance with your air conditioning expert
Yes, some air conditioning maintenance you can do yourself, however, for the most part, you should have your unit regularly checked by a licensed professional. Besides having the right tools and know-how, these experts will perform a number of tasks including:
- Thoroughly cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils
- Checking and tightening electrical connections
- Ensuring the system has the correct refrigerant charge
- Checking for leaks and/or breaks
- Flushing the drains
- Checking, cleaning and repairing the ductwork if needed
- Measuring airflow and checking motor efficiency
Licensed professionals are there to address issues before they become larger problems and recommend any repairs that will help extend the life of your air conditioner.
Because air conditioners generally draw a lot of power, their services will also ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of energy efficiency, taking advantage of any savings you can on your power bills, and ultimately retaining the investment on your unit all year-round.