As the first chilly breeze of autumn whooshes into your house, you may immediately think that the battle against relentless heat is finally over and your air conditioner can at last take its well-deserved break. Unfortunately, temperatures only drop a few degrees and you might not feel any significant difference until winter is on your doorstep, so your air conditioner will have to endure for a couple more months.
Autumn, however, is the perfect time to do some maintenance on your air conditioner since longer nippy hours allow you to shut it down. Especially if your equipment has already been showing signs of overuse, maintenance can breathe new life into it and get it ready for the next hot months.
Step #1: Consider what type of unit you have.
The kind of maintenance work your air conditioning system needs depends on its type and size. A window air conditioner, for instance, may require less tedious maintenance work than a split system or central air conditioner because it doesn’t have a ductwork and an outdoor unit. So before you come up with a brilliant upkeep plan, find out what type of unit you have first and thoroughly scan each of its components to determine how much work is needed to bring the whole system back to its pristine self, or if you’ll need to replace it entirely.
Step # 2: Clean the coil.
Your air conditioner consists of many parts, each of which plays a critical role in the refrigeration process, which is responsible for the cool and comfy air in your home. One of its major components is the evaporator coil. In most dual-unit systems, the evaporator coil is usually part of the outdoor unit and functions as the container and conveyer of refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the air entering the system.
The air that passes through the evaporator coil comes with dust and allergens, which accumulate on its surface over time. This dust build-up eventually reduces the refrigerant’s cooling power. Regularly cleaning the evaporator coil helps maintain the capacity of your air conditioning system. There are special cleaning agents available in most hardware stores that you can use. These agents are potent enough to eliminate deposits of dirt, mould, mildew, and even tar.
You can’t immediately access the evaporator coil because it is covered with a filter, which helps reduce the amount of dust that enters the unit. So expect the filter to be even dirtier than the coil itself. You can wash the filter to clear it of dust but experts suggest filters have to be replaced at least every three months. Dust deposits on the filter can prevent air from passing through, consequently limiting the amount of cool air circulated in your home.
Step # 3: Let your air conditioner rinse itself.
There are a handful of ways to clean your air conditioner’s evaporator coils. You can use compressed air to extract as much dust embedded deep within the coil as possible without having to access it using a solid object. You can also gently wash it with a mixture of mild detergent and water. While it’s tempting to power wash the coil, considering that it is made up of tight, inaccessible slats, this isn’t advisable as the pressure might damage the coil or soak moisture-sensitive sections of the unit.
A safer approach is to let your air conditioner rinse itself using its self-produced condensate. After trying to remove as much dust from the coil as possible, turn on the unit, set it to “cool”, and adjust the thermostat to the coldest setting. As warm air passes through the now very cold coil, it immediately condenses, forming water droplets that will eventually drip into the pan at the base of your air conditioner. These droplets carry with them the remaining particulates on the surface of the coil rendering it clean.
When to Call a Technician
Fortunately, you don’t have to do the hard work yourself, especially if you are anxious of the likelihood that you might damage the unit in the process. You can just call in a home service aircon technician to have your air conditioner cleaned, inspected, and even repaired if they discover existing issues. Here are some of the signs that you need a professional air conditioning service instead of trying to fix the problem yourself.
When you hear strange noise.
If, for some reason (after giving your air conditioner a good clean and turning it on to see how much improvement you’ve done), a strange noise suddenly emerges, that’s not a good sign. It might be coming from a loose belt or a dislodged component vibrating along with the unit’s running locomotive.
When the unit isn’t producing cool air
If your room remains warm after leaving your air conditioner on for a while, check if the thermostat is adjusted properly. If it is, and you’ve just recently cleaned the unit and even replaced the filter, then it must be a mechanical issue that only a qualified technician can address.
Ice build-up anywhere in your air conditioner is a sign of refrigerant leak. Turn off your air conditioner and try to find the source of the leak. Unlike other fluids, refrigerant requires special handling so better not deal with it, especially if you don’t have prior experience with coolants. Leave it to the experts.
When the condenser coil is covered with ice
Your air conditioner is your first line of defence against the harmful effects of excessive humidity and heat inside your home, including stroke, mould growth, and respiratory illnesses. It is, therefore, only right to give your air conditioner a little TLC to make sure it lasts a lifetime. After all, installing a new air conditioner may cost a fortune so it’s more practical to invest in the upkeep of your current unit. What does an aircon service include? Find out by getting in touch with one of Australia’s most trusted HVAC experts – Port City Air Conditioning.