air conditioning

Servicing air conditioning units is important to ensure that they remain operational and efficient. However, what’s not so obvious is when these units actually need servicing. Do you simply follow the recommended maintenance schedule from the manufacturer? Or are there signs that your unit is in need of attention?

In this air conditioning servicing guide, we’ll cover:

  • The telltale signs that it’s time to book a service for your unit along
  • Smart maintenance tips to keep your air conditioning system firing on all cylinders
  • How often to service your air conditioner
  • Servicing information for split and ducted air conditioning systems

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Servicing

Less Airflow

If you’ve ever put your hand in front of a fully functioning air conditioner, you’ll know that there’s a significant amount of cold air coming out. Your air con works hard to circulate cool air around your interior space, and the air quality and flow is a key part of this process.

If you’ve noticed that your air conditioning airflow has decreased, it may be due to a number of reasons. The most common culprits are a dirty air filter or blockages in the ductwork, which restrict airflow and make your unit work harder than it should. Furthemore, decreased airflow can also lead to more severe issues such as compressor failure – so it’s best to get it sorted sooner rather than later! Contact us now to schedule a quality Air Conditioning servicing with our technicians. We do installation and repair for all types of air conditioners in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and many other cities in Australia.

Higher Air Conditioning Energy Bills

The more strain your air conditioner is under, the more energy it will consume. If you’ve noticed a sudden spike in your energy bills, one reason may be due to your AC unit working overtime.

While there’s numerous reasons your air conditioner may be using more energy, a common cause is an outdated and inefficient unit. If your unit is more than 15 years old, it’s motors and capacitors may start to fail, which will lead to higher energy consumption. As such, it may be time for a replacement or atleast a solid repair job!

Bad smells

If you’ve noticed a musty smell emanating from your AC unit, it’s likely due to mould or mildew growth. In moisture-prone areas, these two fungi can spread quickly into your air conditioner. It’s unsightly and can even cause respiratory problems and asthma!

In addition to mould growth, burnt out wires can also cause an unpleasant smell. Wires insulation eventually degrades, leading to them short circuiting and releasing a burning smell. In this case, air conditioner servicing is a must as it’s a serious fire hazard.

Strange Noises

Whirring, grinding, rattling noises are all signs that your air conditioner is working overtime to circulate air. If you hear these noises, turn off your unit immediately as it’s likely due to a failing compressor. The compressor is the heart of your air conditioner, so if it’s not working properly, always consult a professional as it may require a replacement.

Visible Leaks

If you’ve owned an air conditioner long enough, you’ve probably encountered a water leak at some point. While a small amount is harmless and just due to condensation, larger water puddles can be a sign of a more serious issue.

Possible causes of water leaks include a blocked drain pipe or a cracked unit. In this scenario, a good cleaning and replacement.

How Often Should You Service Your Air conditioner?

Most experts agree that once a year is sufficient to service your air conditioner. However, your unit plays a big role in how often it needs to be serviced i.e units in dusty environments or older models may need to be serviced more frequently.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to check your unit’s manufacturer manual as they should have specific recommendations. 

You’ll also need to consider which season you’re using your air conditioner most. For example, if you live in a hot climate and use your air conditioner constantly during summer, it’s best to service your ac in springtime. If it’s a heating system, autumn is the best time to check it over.

Other factors you’ll want to consider include:

  • How often you use your unit – everyday vs occasional use
  • If you have pets or allergies
  • The type of air conditioner you have – central, window, portable etc
  • Your air conditioner’s environment – moisture prone or dusty areas will require more frequent servicing

If you’re unsure, always consult a professional as they’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action. You’ll then be given a preventative maintenance schedule to ensure your unit thrives for years to come!

How to Service an Air Conditioner Yourself 

Everyone loves a good DIY project and servicing your air conditioner is one job you can definitely do yourself. But before you start, disable your electric breaker located outside your house in a small metal box. Your electric breaker will usually have labelling – so if you’re unsure, always call a professional to attempt to service your air conditioner without turning off the power.

Clean your filters

Your filters are responsible for catching dust, dirt and other airborne particles – so it’s no surprise that they get pretty grubby over time! As such, it helps to clean them every 1-2 months to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.

Most filters can be easily removed, vacuumed and rinsed with soap and water. However, if you’re unsure, always refer to your manual as some models require specialised filters that can only be cleaned by professionals.

Replace your filters

If your filters are old and damaged, it’s time to invest in some new ones. Always ensure you check your ac’s instructions first as your filter’s size and type will vary from model to model.

Clean your coils

Your air conditioner evaporator coils get covered with dust and dirt over time, impacting their efficiency. To clean your coils, simply spray them with a foam coil cleaner, wait  on for about 15 minutes and rinse. 

Check and clean your AC’s vents

Your air conditioner’s vents and registers can get pretty dusty throughout the months. To clean them, simply remove the vent covers and wipe them down with a damp cloth. You can also vacuum them to remove any dust or dirt build-up.

Clean your AC’s Fins

Clean your air conditioner’s fins with an air blower on low to blow the dust out of your fins. You can also vacuum them with the brush attachment if you can’t get all the dirt out. Again, you’ll want to use a low setting to avoid damaging your fins.

If your fins are particularly dirty, you can also use a fin comb to brush them out. However, it’s always best to avoid directly touching your fins as they’re easily bent and damaged.

When to Replace Your Air Conditioner?

There are few things worse than an air conditioner breaking down in the heart of summer. It’s inconvenient, expensive and simply put – a huge pain.

If your unit is over 10 years old and has previously shown signs of wear and tear, it may be time to start shopping for a replacement. Like all appliances, air conditioners have a shelf life and eventually they’ll reach the end of their run.

Let’s go over some telltale signs that it’s time to replace your unit:

  • Your unit is over 10 years old and has experienced multiple breakdowns
  • Your energy bills have increased significantly
  • The ac you own isn’t an energy-efficient model – check how many stars your unit has!
  • Your ac has put out strange noises, leaks or strange smells 

If your ac has reached the end of its life, it’s important to start shopping for a new one as soon as possible. An old ac is prone to breaking down when you need it most, and even a health hazard in some cases.

How Often Should You Service a Split System Air Conditioning System?

Split system air conditioners have two units, one located inside and one outside. They’re easy to install, highly efficient and don’t require ductwork. 

On the flip side, split air systems cannot be installed into every space. As they require an outdoor area for the compressor, they’re not ideal for apartments or small homes with limited outdoor space. But despite this, these units are extremely popular among Australian residents and business owners, as they offer a number of benefits.

Like a traditional air conditioner, it’s important to service your split system at least once a year to ensure it’s running smoothly and efficiently.

During a service, a technician will generally:

  • Inspect your cooling system for any leaks, cracks or blockages
  • Check your air filters and fins for dust build up
  • Ensure all wiring and motor parts are secure and in good condition
  • Check your thermostat to ensure it’s working correctly
  • Inspect your outdoor condenser unit for any damaged parts and clean it if necessary
  • Inspect your system’s refrigerant levels

Like normal air conditioners, split systems can be serviced by their owners. However, it’s always recommended to leave it to the professional split system service as they have the experience and knowledge to properly do the job.

How Often to Service a Ducted Air Conditioner

Ducted air conditioners work by providing cooling or heating to your entire home via a system of ducts and vents. These units are generally more expensive to install and replace, but make up for it as they simultaneously cool or heat your entire home. As such, they’re a great option for large families or those who want to maintain a consistent temperature throughout their property.

Getting your ducted air conditioner serviced is essential for maintaining indoor air quality and preventing potential health risks for you and your family. It’s recommended that you have your system serviced at least once a year.

What’s involved in Ducted Air Con Servicing?

  • Checking all electrical components for wear and tear
  • Cleaning or replacing air con filters
  • Ensuring fan blades are free of dust, debris, rust and grime
  • Inspecting and cleaning evaporator coils (if necessary)
  • Checking the ductwork for any leaks, blockages or damage

The Pros and Cons of Servicing Your Own Air Con

You may be asking yourself “If my air conditioner needs servicing, why bother hiring a professional” Yes, with the right know-how and tools, you can service your own air conditioner. However, there are some risks associated with DIY.

Pros of servicing your own air conditioner

  • You can take all the time you need to service your system without feeling rushed
  • Servicing your own ac educates you on how your system works
  • You’ll save a large sum of money (especially long-term) as you won’t have to hire a professional

Cons of servicing your own air conditioner

  • You can be electrocuted if not careful – exposed wires and live electricity is dangerous
  • You misdiagnose the problem and create an even bigger issue
  • A poor cleaning job could lead to your system breaking down sooner i.e fin cleaning could bend the fins
  • Your ac’s warranty may be void if you service it yourself
  • If your ac is located in a hard-to-reach place, you could seriously injure yourself
  • It’s a complex system – one wrong move and you could end up costing yourself a lot of money in repairs

Always weigh up the risks and benefits before going ahead and always be cautious when working with electrical components. If in doubt, it’s always best to hire a professional electrician who specializes in air conditioner repairs to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of your cooling system.

Get a Quote on Sidepost’s Air conditioning Servicing Today!

At Sidepost, our air conditioning experts know better than anyone else the importance of servicing your air conditioner. If you’re unsure on whether you require a regular maintenance plan or a one-off service, we’ll gladly visit your home to assess your needs and provide you with a quote.

Contact us today at 1300 138 499 or book online for a quote. Whether you need ducted air conditioning or a reverse cycle air conditioner servicing, we are always willing to help.