In order to keep your air conditioning system operating at optimal efficiency and to increase its longevity, it is vital to perform routine maintenance. There are some items that can be done by a homeowner and others that are best left to a professional. It is generally recommended that you have it professionally serviced every eighteen months or so, depending upon its workload and other variables. Many of the homeowner-related maintenance tasks can be performed in between professional servicing.
Professional service technicians can check things that are typically beyond the abilities of a homeowner, i.e., refrigerant levels, cooling coils, electrical connections, condensing unit and drip trays. This preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run, and dramatically increase the life span of your air conditioners. This service should include:
- Cleaning of all return air filters
- Checking of air conditioner refrigeration systems
- Checking of refrigerant charges/ levels
- Testing and observation of air conditioner units for noise and vibration
- Checking and adjusting thermostats and controls
- Checking and deodorising evaporator coils on indoor units
- Checking all electrical and electronic equipment, contactors and switches cut in/ cut out
- Checking amperage currents of compressors and motors and lubricating bearings (where accessible)
- Clearing any blocked condensation drains
Both new and old systems require routine maintenance and preventative checkups can save you from headaches and bigger costs in the future.
There are plenty of small things that you can do to ensure that your air conditioner is working at its most effective, in between professional services. It’s recommended to clean or change all filters monthly, and to leave a metre or so of space surrounding the unit so that it can effectively draw in air.
When performing routine maintenance, always check the manufacturer’s owner’s manual first. Your service technician will be able to provide you with all routine maintenance tips for your specific model, to ensure you’re completing the right tasks.
To save money on your electricity bill, there are several things that you can do, including:
- Set the unit’s fan operation to “auto”, since it is not necessary to be running the fan continuously.
- Consider having a whole house fan installed to draw cool evening and morning air into your house.
- Use drapes or blinds to shade the sun or install solar shade screens on your windows.
- Turn off lights when they are not necessary.
- Wait until late in the evening to use your heat producing appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers.
- Check your home for air leaks, to ensure that your air conditioner can effectively cool the air (without losing cool air to the outside).
As you can see there are a lot of things that you can do yourself that will dramatically improve your air conditioning system’s efficiency and reduce your electrical bill. Combine these with routine professional maintenance and you will not only reduce your electrical bill, you will also greatly increase the longevity of your air conditioner.