We all know how brutal an Aussie summer can be. So it’s essential that your air conditioning system is up to the task. However, if you’ve been neglecting air conditioner maintenance, then you could be in for some problems when the summer heat hits.
Why air conditioner maintenance is necessary
As with any appliance, regular maintenance is required to ensure your air conditioner works effectively and efficiently. This means you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature on even the hottest days, as well as minimising the cost of running of the unit. A poorly maintained air conditioner will need to work harder and will use more power to achieve the same results as a well-maintained unit.
Regular preventative maintenance will also reduce the need for air conditioning repairs. Keeping up with your air conditioner maintenance will allow you to spot issues before they develop into large-scale problems that could end up costing you serious money.
Maintaining your air conditioner will also extend its useful life. This is because parts are less likely to wear out prematurely, putting additional stress on the machine as a whole.
So, what do you need to do to maintain your air conditioner?
- Clean or replace filters
When your air conditioner’s filters become blocked, this restricts airflow. As a result, your air conditioner needs to use more power to cool your home. Cleaning the filter can also improve your home’s indoor air quality.
Aim to clean the filters in your air conditioning unit every month or so during high-use periods. You may need to do this job more regularly during dry and dusty periods or if you have pets, since there will be more particles in the air.
If cleaning your filter isn’t improving your air conditioning’s performance, you may need to replace the filter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you do not damage your air conditioner in the process. Often you can just pop the old filter out and slot the new one in. You don’t need much technical know-how to handle this simple maintenance task on your own.
- Clean evaporator coil
The evaporator coil plays a crucial role in your unit’s ability to cool your home. When it is covered in dust and dirt, it is less able to absorb heat, reducing the effectiveness of your overall system.
You should carefully clean the evaporator coil at least once a year. Regularly cleaning the filters will also help to keep this component clean.
- Clean area around condenser coils
To ensure sufficient airflow through your unit, you need to clean the area around the condenser coils. This includes removing nearby debris and trimming back any surrounding plants. You want to ensure as little as possible can interfere with the unit.
However, you should never attempt to clean the condenser coils yourself. Leave this job to the professionals, otherwise you risk damaging the coil fins, which can reduce the performance of the appliance as well as cause refrigerant leaks. Similarly, inexpert cleaning can damage the unit’s internal electrical components.
- Hire a professional to check and test components
Air conditioners are complicated pieces of technology and you will need to hire the services of an expert to complete some maintenance tasks.
For example, a professional can check the machine’s refrigerant levels and ensure there are no leaks. Refrigerant helps to cool the air in your home, but it is also a dangerous chemical. If exposed to refrigerant, you may experience headaches, nausea and vomiting. In extreme circumstances, you may have difficulty breathing, lose consciousness or die.
Along with checking the unit’s refrigerant, the air conditioning professional will check all electrical components. They will be able to do so safely without risking electrical shock or damage to your unit.
Finally, your air conditioning professional can check the accuracy of the unit’s thermostat. While this may not seem like a particularly serious problem, a malfunctioning thermostat can damage your air conditioner and reduce operational efficiency. An inaccurate thermostat can overload and damage your unit’s compressor. The thermostat may force the unit to run frequent short cycles, shutting the air conditioner off before the cooling cycle properly finishes, putting pressure on the compressor. This is because the thermostat thinks the correct temperature has been reached. However, it may then restart the process shortly after due to another incorrect temperature reading, before repeating the short cycle process again.
Problems with the thermostat can also lead to issues turning your air conditioning on and off, adding further stress to the unit.
Get the most out of your air conditioner this summer by ensuring it is well maintained. A properly maintained air conditioner is effective, efficient and cheaper to run.