Our top tips on how to maintain your air conditioning unit
It’s a classic scenario; you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone – or broken. But your Air Conditioning Unit running cleanly isn’t something you want to take for granted. Failing to maintain your air conditioning unit properly, is like purposely preparing yourself to be without air conditioning.
It may seem like a daunting task – or one which isn’t necessary – but once you know what to do, and what to look out for, you can guarantee you’ll reap the rewards of it being clean and running efficiently and thus, prolong the life of your unit.
In this article, we let you know the best way to keep your Air Conditioning Unit running cleanly.
Cleaning your unit.
Before we dive into the ins and outs of cleaning your unit, we must remind you that you must remember to turn off the power supply before doing anything. This is an important health and safety step which shouldn’t be skipped. If you can’t find where to turn your air conditioning off on the unit, turn off the power supply from your breaker box.
Once that’s done, you’re safe to begin. The question is, where do you start?
Regularly change your air filters.
Air filters are the most common reasons why an AC unit may not be operating at maximum efficiency. The filters get clogged relatively quickly, and this means it’s hard for air to be circulated through and out of the unit.
The best practice is to change your air filter every 4 to 10 weeks, especially if the unit is running regularly. Fresh air filters mean a more efficient AC unit.
Clean your air conditioning coils.
The AC coils help the unit run at optimum efficiency. When the coil gets dirty, it becomes unable to transfer heat which can lead to overheating.
Window units can be tricky if they are in hard-to-reach places. But if you can get access to them, they are easy to clean without having to remove them.
On the window and smaller units, inspect the unit and see whether there’s any dirt or build-up, and remove accordingly with a gentle brush or cloth. If there is still build-up remaining, with a spray bottle filled with soapy water, spray the coils and go back in with the brush or cloth and leave to dry. Make sure you don’t use too much soap with this (you don’t want it sudsy), as this can cause a quicker build-up next time.
Getting rid of mould
Unfortunately, AC units are the perfect breeding ground for mould, and regular checks should be done to ensure a build-up isn’t occurring.
If there is mould build-up in your unit, you may have to take a slightly different approach to cleaning it. If the mould build-up doesn’t appear to be too much, you can clean it yourself with one part bleach to 10 parts water; spraying the same as stated above, cleaning and drying until the mould has gone.
If the build-up is bad, call in a professional for a more in-depth clean including the pumps and pipes. However, they may suggest the need for a new unit to ensure your space is being filled with clean air and not contaminated.
Other maintenance tips to remember…
Carry out regular checks.
When it comes to your AC, faults often occur due to issues that have gotten worse over time and could ultimately have been a quick and simple fix if caught early.
So, to avoid forking out for a new unit, make sure you regularly check your unit, and vents, to ensure it’s clean, there are no blockages, and it’s in good working order.
Don’t forget about the outside!
A lot of issues are caused by people forgetting about the outdoor element of the air conditioning unit, the outdoor condenser.
It’s easy for the parts exposed to the outdoors to accumulate dirt and debris, such as grass, insects, and general dust.
The outside part is incredibly easy to clean, a normal hosepipe with do the trick, gently hosing it down. Just remember to turn off the AC!
Watch out for obstructions
Ensure that no furniture or anything else is blocking air vents. Air conditioning units need airflow to work effectively, so anything that gets in the way of this could cause faults with the unit or will stop you from getting the best results from the air conditioning.
Can I really do this myself, or do I need a professional?
The answer to this question honestly depends on the person. Some people will naturally have more know-how – however, with some issues, a professional should be called in, as a specialist skillset is needed to ensure a correct fix and to prevent further damage.
You don’t need a professional to clean your unit or perform the regular recommended checks. As explained above, it is relatively simple, and you just need to approach the task with care. Also, performing regular checks yourself is beneficial as it means you will get to grips with what a normal running unit should look like. This means that if a problem does arise, you’ll know it when you see it and know it is probably time to call someone in.
That being said, if you notice a leak, it could be time to call in a professional. Leaks can mean that there could be blockages in the pumps or tubes or other kinds of damage.
Furthermore, if you notice the refrigerant levels are low, there’s a good chance of a leak somewhere in the unit. If your unit is working properly, you should never need to add more refrigerants. So, if you notice lower levels than usual, a professional should be called.
Should my AC unit be serviced? If so, when?
Yes, you should get your unit serviced by a professional. Experts generally advise a service to be done every year. Spring is usually the best time for a service, so any issues can be fixed before the hot weather truly kicks in.
A service usually consists of a clean, air filter replacement, inspections of the pumps and thermostat, as well as generally inspecting the whole unit for damage or issues which need to be addressed.
Having your unit serviced means that you know it’s in good working order, and further cleans and checks you may do yourself you know the standard that it should be in.
Keep your unit running for longer.
Hopefully, now you feel armed with how to clean your unit, and what to look out for if there is an issue.
Your AC unit is an important machine, this means you need to take proper care to ensure it stays running in optimum condition for as long as possible.
Remember, if you ever have any doubts or suspect your unit to be faulty, call in a professional. They will be able to answer your questions and fix any issues before a bigger problem can arise.
Take our Air Conditioning or Commercial Refrigeration Healthcheck to see how healthy your equipment is, and to see if it’s due a maintenance check.