When you turn on your air conditioning on the first hot day of the year it can be frustrating to find that your unit is struggling to cool the room, or worse, not working at all. While it’s recommended you get a professional engineer to complete an air conditioning service as part of your yearly property maintenance, there are also a few simple checks that you can do in between to keep your air conditioning running smoothly.
Keep your air conditioning unit clean
Most air conditioning faults are caused by lack of cleanliness, but just dusting the vents regularly can make a huge difference to the life of your unit. Another simple thing you can do to improve the hygiene of your air conditioning system is to remove the filters, spray them down with antibacterial spray and rinse with warm water. The cleaner you keep your unit, the less often you’ll need to have an air conditioning service.
The reason your air conditioning system has a filter is both to protect the mechanics inside, as well as keeping the air clean inside your home or office. If this filter isn’t kept clean you’re making your air con system work harder and less efficiently, meaning your energy bill will be higher and your yearly air conditioning service may not be sufficient to keep your unit in good health. Some air con filters have to be cleaned rather than replaced and vice versa. An electrostatic filter is cleaned, while a disposable fiberglass or paper filter should be replaced fairly regularly; anywhere between once a month and twice a year, depending on the air quality in your area. Check it regularly to determine how often you should be changing yours. A filter which needs changing will look clogged with dust.
Make sure the condensing unit is not obstructed
The condensing unit is the part of your air conditioning system that sits outside and pulls the air in. If this becomes obstructed by weeds, dead leaves or even outdoor furniture you’ve stored against it, your air conditioning may not work as well as it could do. Make cleaning the area around the unit part of your regular property maintenance. It’s also good to do this before an air conditioning service, to avoid being charged by the engineer for time spent cleaning, and also to avoid misdiagnosis of why your unit isn’t working properly.
Check airflow on inside and outside unit
Once you’ve removed any obstructions from the condensing unit, check that the airflow is powerful and consistent on both units. If the airflow is poor this can indicate that your air conditioning system has a blocked coil or a failing fan. In most cases it will be necessary to call a professional air con engineer to investigate the problem and provide a solution.
Switch between heating and cooling modes
It’s a good idea to do a DIY air conditioning service if it has been a while since you’d used your air con system. One really easy thing you can do is to try switching between the cooling and heating modes. If your air conditioning is stuck on one setting, it normally indicates that there is a problem with the reversing valve. If this happens you should call in a professional engineer.
Repair any rust or corrosion
Check over your air conditioning system, particularly the outdoor unit, for any signs of rust or corrosion. If the damage is minimal, you can usually repair it by painting over it with waterproof steel paint. If the rust or corrosion is more severe you should call in a property maintenance professional. Ask your engineer to check for signs of oxidation while completing your air conditioning service.