As you might have guessed, most of the work in preparing your air conditioner comes down to maintaining a steady airflow, as well as a bit of spring cleaning!
Believe it or not, even excellent products require regular maintenance. Especially AC units.
When running smoothly, AC systems keep your home as comfortable as can be, providing heat in the cold months and active cooling during the summer. However, what are the signs that your AC might not be in tip-top condition?
Why do I need to clean my air conditioner?
All of HunterCON’s air conditioning units come with filters that are excellent at blocking dust and possible bacteria. However, without a clean, these filters can become clogged.
When a filter is clogged, the air conditioner will use more energy than usual to keep the air circulating and maintain its designated temperature. This means that your pesky electricity bill could be more costly than it needs to be.
On top of that, your AC could be collecting mould from a build-up of moisture. Now that’s the last thing you want to contaminate the air of your home.
How often do I need to maintain my air conditioning system?
Short answer, regularly. But it honestly depends on your level of usage. For example, in the summer it would be ideal to check the dust filters every month, but in the less extreme seasons when the air conditioner is receiving less attention, you may only need to check once. Aim for at least twice a year.
7 obvious signs that your AC system needs servicing
What are the signs of a poor-performing AC system that requires servicing? Check out our handy guide below.
Is warm air coming from the vents?
If you feel warm air blowing out of your home’s vents, you should check the thermostat. Make sure it’s switched to cooling mode and set it lower than your home’s current temperature. If your vents still blow warm air, restricted airflow or a compressor issue might be the cause.
Does your AC system have insufficient airflow?
Poor airflow is a common sign that your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently or that a blockage is preventing air from moving through your home’s ductwork. While you may just require simple servicing, your air conditioner may also benefit from zoning systems. They can ensure that you’re getting the right airflow and cooling power exactly where you need it.
How frequent are cooling cycles?
Your air conditioner should go through relatively routine cooling cycles; however, it shouldn’t cycle on and off too regularly. If you notice frequent cycles, your AC may require attention right away. It is important to note that while your air conditioner may just need a quick tune-up, you might be better of purchasing a new air conditioner.
Are you experiencing high humidity?
Your air conditioner should moderate humidity levels automatically, but if your cooling system can’t keep moisture levels within a comfortable range, you need an air conditioner repair.
Are there any water leaks?
Pooled water or an active leak around your air conditioner is an essential sign that your cooling system is not running properly. Leaks can quickly damage your home and may even lead to serious structural issues, so be sure to get on this issue as quickly as possible.
Does your AC system give off a bad smell?
If you smell unpleasant odours and suspect that they’re coming from your HVAC system, you will certainly want to deal with the issue before it becomes worse. A quick service can enable your home to smell fresh again in no time.
Is your AC system making strange noises?
Most air conditioners make low-level noise when they are being used. If you notice any unusual sounds like buzzing, rattling, and grinding, be sure to contact a technician straight away.
Ways you can maintain your air conditioning system
Without checking up on your air conditioning unit, you could potentially be losing money and reducing the quality of your air. But don’t fret, HunterCON is here to help and give you peace of mind with these maintenance tips.
Disclaimer: This advice is for split-system air conditioners as this is the most common type of unit, however, this information should apply to most other systems:
- Firstly, make sure your AC is properly turned off.
- Now, it’s time to get a dry cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- Before getting inside, give your exterior a clean and make sure no debris is too close to your unit.
- Remove the cover from your unit and take out the dust filter/s.
- Give the dust filter/s a solid shake, brush, or vacuum, depending on its level of cleanliness. If the filter is extremely dirty, not to worry. Some warm water and gentle detergent should do the trick.
- If possible, also remove your unit’s oscillating blades (called louvres) and give them a brush or vacuum.
- Place the dust filter/s and louvres carefully back onto your unit where they were originally located.
What to Remember When Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
Here are a few key areas to consider, so you can be sure your air conditioner unit is running at 100% before the summer heat sets in.
Be Sure to Clean and Change Your Filters
Many people don’t know this but air conditioning filters need to be changed regularly/cleaned and in the interim, a quick clean goes a long way to preserving your airflow.
Filters are easily clogged and a build-up of debris can restrict airflow, meaning your unit will have to work harder to push out air. That’s power and money you don’t need to spend.
On ducted air conditioning units, the filter is found to be in the return air grille most likely located on the ceiling, open the grille remove the filter and wash with water.
On window units, the filter is usually found on the face of the unit, behind a metal panel. Window units usually have permanent filters which require cleaning. After unscrewing the panel, clean the filter with a mixture of vinegar and water and allow it to dry out before refitting.
Remember to Clean the Condenser
Outdoor units tend to be more durable than their indoor counterparts, despite this, it’s important to check for dirt, leaves and twigs, and anything else that could have built up over time. After removing foreign objects give the unit a good clean out by using a bowler or use compressed air.
You can make your life easy by mowing any grass or trimming any branches around the unit. Be sure to check that the concrete slab is steady and level, as an incline may mean the condenser has to work harder to make up air pressure.
During the summer you should check the unit every week, hot temperatures and debris don’t mix!
Clean the Condenser Coils
For ducted air conditioning units, it is particularly important to check the condenser coils. The condenser is in the unit that is placed outside and should look like a fan with a cover, with vents or grills on the sides. The coils are generally located at the rear of the system that looks like small little fins.
You can use a coil brush or other soft brush, or even vacuum the coils from the outside of the unit. Heavy debris may require a commercial coil cleaner, which needs to be sprayed from the inside, away from the electrical components of the unit. If in doubt when using a liquid, cover the electrics with a plastic bag.
Check to make Sure Ducts or Pipes Aren’t Leaking
Look for loose panels, loose joints, and small holes in the ductwork. You would be amazed how much a tiny leak can affect the efficiency of your overall system. Small leaks can be sealed with rubber or fabric-based tapes, but larger problems may require professional refitting.
The condensation line is another spot to check. This is the pipe that removes condensation from the unit. The moist conditions can create a perfect environment for algae to grow and clog your line.
So if you suspect drainage problems, try unscrewing the pipe and cleaning it with an algaecide, which is available at most pool stores.
Next steps in your air conditioning maintenance
Congratulations! You’ve now successfully self-maintained your air conditioning unit. Now, while self-service is essential, so is regular professional service.
Parts may need replacing, or a deep clean may be required. HunterCON’s fully licensed professional air conditioning maintenance is the best way to check the more internal mechanics of your unit.
Now even if HunterCON didn’t install your system, we have a reliable team ready to assist. If you’re concerned about your air conditioners’ performance, or just want a check-up, don’t hesitate to contact us.