Air Conditioner: A Comprehensive Maintenance Guide

Written by Lillian Connors
20
Dec

Following a maintenance schedule for your air conditioning unit is one of the house chores that returns more investment than you may think. Aside from staying cool all summer long without breakdowns at three in the morning, a well-maintained AC runs more efficiently, saving you money on electricity bills. Finally, a well-maintained system will run longer before it needs to be replaced. These tips should cover all the aspects of AC maintenance.

Clean or replace air filter

Replacing your AC filter regularly is a single most important maintenance tip. If you have a reusable filter, you can clean it every month during summer and winter, and once in fall and spring. The air filter is usually located behind the return air grille on the wall or ceiling, inside the blower compartment or in a dedicated slot on the side, bottom or top of your AC unit.

When the filter is clogged with dust, dirt and other particles, the system powers up to make up for the decreased airflow. Basically, you have an AC that works harder, uses more power and mixes more allergens with the indoor air.

Inspect wiring and connections

Before you do any maintenance on your AC, always make sure the power is turned off at the outdoor unit or the main breaker panel of your home. Remove the access panel on your condensing unit and check for any signs of overheating, such as melted insulation wires, blackened or burned out junctions, etc.

Also, check all electrical connections to make sure they’re tight and fitting. If you notice any of these problems and don’t feel comfortable replacing the parts yourself, call your local HVAC expert to do the work. If your unit is under warranty, doing the work yourself or hiring a third party will irrevocably void the warranty.

Check thermostat

Your thermostat is your best friend in saving power. If your unit came with an older, mechanical type thermostat, maybe you should replace it with a digital, programmable type. It will allow you to set the temperature higher doing the work hours, when there’s no one at home and program it to cool down the house half an hour before you arrive home.

This way you’ll always have a pleasant temperature at home without the unit running all day. Still, if used incorrectly, a programmable thermostat can even cost you more than if having no thermostat at all. Check out this link to learn how to use it most economically.

What about outside unit?

Your AC outside unit is not only exposed to the elements, but also grass clippings, leaves and dirt that can build up, reducing the airflow and the system capacity. After you shut down the unit, use a garden hose to wash down the debris starting at the top.

You should never use a power washer as it can bend or damage the unit fan. Shrubs and other plants that grow around the outside unit may obstruct the airflow, so make sure you trim those, too.

Call for a professional AC service

Having an AC that runs smoothly saves money, saves energy and a most importantly saves you from a lot of stress during the hottest days of Australian summer. While taking care of your AC unit yourself is an opportunity to learn something new, many of us with busy schedules just keep delaying the maintenance day.

Not only will professional repairmen do it in less time, but they can also perform additional checks over the year. For example, these Chatswood-based air conditioning experts have years of experience behind them and are known to use only quality materials and replacement parts.

There are some AC maintenance tasks that an average homeowner can do easily. However, when it comes to electricity or internal operation, you better clear the floor for experts with proper training and license. If you are performing the work yourself, always observe safety precautions. But if at any time you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to call professionals.