There are three critical components of your air conditioning system you need to ensure are regularly maintained. If you have an annual service automatically booked, the technician will make these the focus of the inspection. The filters, coils, and fins will lead to your aircon shutting down when you need them most if they aren’t well-tuned before summer hits.
We call this ‘preventative’ maintenance. Not only will it eradicate inconvenient breakdowns, but it will also extend the lifespan of the system and keep it efficient. Don’t be tempted to skip the servicing because your aircon is working fine. There could be trouble brewing with your unit, and you just don’t know it.
Why service your air conditioner before summer hits? With heatwaves, we tend to turn our coolers up to the max, which puts a strain on them. If anything is awry, this is the time the system won’t cope and it will stop working.
Let’s look at some of the reason certain elements need to serviced or maintained:
Aircon filters – become dirty and clogged
When the filter is blocked, the airflow of the system is affected. This will lead to a reduction in the system’s efficiency. Secondly, the air laced with dirt and particles will also be blasted towards the evaporator coil. A coil that is covered in debris cannot absorb heat well.
Benefits of cleaning your air filter: Cleaning an air filter can drop energy consumption by 15%.
How often? Clean the filter up to every eight weeks in summer (more often if you have pets).
Note: Not all filters are reusable, so check with your installer or manufacturer if your model needs new filters.
Aircon condenser/evaporator coils: dirty
The coils of an air conditioner will begin to collect dirt with use. We’ve discussed already how keeping the filters clean will help prevent them from getting dirty, but won’t stop it altogether. When coils are dirty, they cannot absorb heat, leading to reduced airflow of the system.
How often: A qualified aircon technician should clean the coils once a year.
Note: Remove debris or foliage from around the outside unit to maximise good airflow around the condenser unit.
Aircon coil fins: bent
What happens when fins on evaporator and condenser coils become bent? Airflow becomes blocked. You can use a tool called a fin comb to unbend them.
How often: Check fins monthly for signs of bending.
The importance of lubrication
With a summer service, the technician will apply oil in the ports – if you have units with unsealed motors. A sign that the motor needs lubrication is humming/grinding noises. They will use refrigeration oils, which are specialised products with have a low pour point which also doesn’t freeze at low temperatures. This makes them suitable for use in air conditioners.
What do those noises mean?
If you hear strange sounds coming from your aircon, this is a sign for maintenance to be scheduled. Listen out for the following:
Banging from your outdoor unit could be a compressor. Parts may have become loose and create noise as they rattle around.
Buzzing sounds near the air handler or the outdoor unit signal you have an electrical problem.
A clicking sound could mean there is an object hitting the fan.
A refrigerant leak usually causes loud hissing.
Odd noises from the ceiling may indicate animals or rodents have made their way inside the ducted system.
Screeching/squealing or a metal grinding sound should be investigated as they likely mean an issue with the compressor or outdoor fan motor or the blower motor.
If you hear any of these sounds, be sure to relay them to the technician who is doing the service, as the information can help them diagnose the cause of the noises. Don’t keep the system running, as you could be causing damage while it is operating.
Why hire a professional for Summer aircon maintenance?
Using a qualified air conditioner technician to carry out your summer maintenance is a must.
- They know what to look for (what needs to be cleaned, what needs to be replaced/repaired).
- They have the right tools and technology and have the knowledge to work with electronics.
- You can ask them to show you how to use the system in Summer to reduce your power usage.
- They will be able to sign off your maintenance on your aircon warranty, so it is still covered if anything goes wrong.
Why maintenance is good for the planet
Finding ways to save energy is not only good for the planet, but it also helps reduce your impact on the environment too.
- A well-maintained aircon is an energy-efficient one. When an air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to cool air, you use less power.
- Dirty air filters make the aircon work harder and can lead to system failure. When parts burn out prematurely, you are adding to landfill waste.
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