The air conditioning unit is one of the most useful and constantly used appliances at home or in the office. Often, we neglect the importance of maintaining it until dirt build up starts to affect its performance.
In order for the air conditioning unit to function well, regular maintenance should be done. There are different ways to do it. For this article, I will be sharing with you the importance and two ways to do air conditioning maintenance – do it yourself and professional way.
Importance of Regular Air Conditioning Maintenance
- Better Air Quality
One of the advantages of having an air conditioner is it can give you better air quality. Air conditioners have air filters in them, and the air filter is responsible for providing us good quality air to breathe whenever we use our air conditioning system. Regular cleaning can prevent the build-up of molds, dust, and bacteria to the air conditioning unit that can slowly affect your health.
- Extend the Longevity of the AC Unit
Any home or office appliance, when constantly used, has a normal wear and tear. To extend the life of your air conditioning unit, you should conduct regular maintenance. The maintenance will clean the unit, remove dust, and maintenance check-up, you will know if repairs are needed or some AC parts need to be replaced. An AC unit is not cheap, and also, it is not practical to buy a new AC unit just because you did not conduct regular maintenance.
- Saves Up Energy
Did you know that your energy consumption can increase because of unmaintained appliances? The build-up in the unit affects the efficiency of the unit. Instead of releasing cool air, it can release warm air that is full of dust and bacteria. Regular maintenance can maximize the energy efficiency of the unit that can save up the energy used.
- Keeping You Cool
If an air conditioning unit is damaged or has accumulated dust, it affects the cleanliness of the air and its coolness. Dust accumulation can affect the air temperature an AC unit releases. With too much dust build-up, the air released will be warmer. That’s why regular maintenance is needed for the unit to continue releasing cool air.
- Offers Comfort
One of the main reasons we have an air conditioning unit is the comfort we feel when cool air is released and hits our bodies. It does not only keep us cool, but it also gives us the comfort to move around and continue with our daily routine.
- Protects Electronic Devices from Overheating
Having an air conditioning unit at home or the office helps keep our devices to overheat. The cool air that the AC unit releases cools down our devices and prevents them from overheating and other possible damages.
- Improves Efficiency
When an air conditioning unit is well maintained, it releases clean, cool air, and it can help increase the efficiency of the workforce and the devices. The workforce and the devices work efficiently because the workforce can work comfortably and with ease, and devices are prevented from overheating.
- Keeps Fresh Air
If not correctly maintained, an air conditioning unit can release foul odor, which is caused by bacteria, dust, and pollutants that have accumulated in the unit filter. Regular maintenance will eliminate the bad odor along with bacteria and keep the air fresh and cool.
- Can Save the Earth
An air conditioning unit can cause harm to the environment, especially if regular maintenance is not conducted. An AC unit’s refrigerant can leak, and it can cause greenhouse gases which we know is not suitable for the environment. Regular maintenance can prevent leakage and save the earth.
- Warranty Compliance
Some companies are strict when it comes to product warranties. It can apply to an air conditioning unit. To prevent forfeiting your AC unit’s warranty, conduct regular servicing of the unit to maintain its pristine working condition. It will allow you to keep the warranty and prevent you from unnecessary expenses for your AC unit.
Guide to Conducting Air Conditioner Maintenance
- Do It Yourself
The maintenance for air conditioners can also be a do-it-yourself set up if you are confident enough not to call a professional.
Here’s a guide in AC maintenance DIY.
- Clean the External Unit (Condenser and Compressor)
The air conditioner’s condenser is one of the most important parts of your AC unit. It is typically found outside, especially for split type units. Regular maintenance helps keep it on top condition.
Step 1: Power off the unit/mains.
Make sure that no power is running when you are cleaning your unit to avoid electrocution. To make it sure, unplug everything that is connected to your unit.
Step 2: Clean the debris around your unit.
In an AC unit, most debris will get stuck in the condenser fins, and you have to clean it carefully not to damage the fins. Use a rough paint brush to clean it and vacuum to clean the finer debris. Keep the area where the condenser is positioned free of obstructions or plant growth that can damage it.
Step 3: Clean and straighten the air conditioner fins.
Gunk and dirt can accumulate in the fins, and it’s difficult to remove them. Try using blunt objects like an old dinner knife to scrape any debris stuck in the fins and reshape it if it’s bent.
Step 4: Clean the condenser fan.
The condenser fan is where a lot of dust can accumulate, and it needs to be cleaned in a regular interval. Clean it up by wiping it with damp cloth and let it dry in the sand.
Step 5: Clean the fins inside out.
Clean the fins by spraying water on it. It will be an effective method if there is a hose nozzle attachment to the hose. It can remove most dirt that has not been removed by the earlier methods. Also, be mindful of the motor not to water it. Some units have sealed bearings, but if yours doesn’t have, add a few drops of electric motor oil (only) to keep the fan lubricated.
- Cleaning the Internal Unit (Evaporator and Blower)
The evaporator unit is responsible for heating or cooling the air that comes out of the air conditioner. The evaporator coils can get dirty over time, and it affects the rate at which it cools or heats your house. It should be regularly cleaned, so it can still function efficiently.
Step 1: Clean the evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil can be found inside the blower/furnace unit and dust and debris can accumulate here. Use a soft brush to clean the dust out and spray with a no-rinse coil cleaner to help get rid of the dust and debris deposits and improve its efficiency. You can use mild detergents and water to get rid of the dirt between the coils.
Step 2:Clean the evaporator drain.
Evaporator drain can get clogged because of algae and mold buildup. A clogged drain can cause flooding that eventually damages the unit, and it then ceases to function. Also, clogging is what causes the AC to let out a foul odored sir. The drain pipe either drains inside (sink or utility drain) or outside (near the condenser unit). You can use a wet/dry vacuum to get rid of the debris in the evaporator drain.
Step 3. Change the blower filter.
The blower filter replacement is dependent on the environment where the air conditioner is located. In a dusty environment, you may need additional change of filters. The blower filter needs to be changed at least twice a year. This should be done before the “heating” season and before the “cooling” season. The airflow rating of the existing filter and new filter element should match. The filter is found in the enclosure at the end of the fresh air return duct.
When you have done all these steps, your air conditioner will be a lot cleaner and more effective in controlling the temperature. Plug everything again and turn on the power and test if the unit is working perfectly.
Your air conditioning unit needs to have a periodic service conducted by a professional to keep it running smoothly.
Sizing the air conditioning system.
This is something that a professional should do. If you decide to have an air conditioning unit installed in your home, it is best to hire a professional to give you the right numbers. The professional will work out your system depending on factors like the volume of cooling, ambient temperature and duration. The professionals call this cooling load calculation, and it is measured on how many “tons” of cooling is required.
Regular inspection and maintenance.
A lot of people can take care of the basic day-to-day tasks, but only a professional can carry out the in-depth inspection of your air conditioning system. An annual maintenance of the air conditioner needs an experienced professional, and it should not be taken for granted as there are several factors that require careful calibration and checking.
There are things that only an experienced professional working in the refrigeration industry can do. Thus, regular maintenance and servicing is necessary to eliminate problems.
An air conditioning unit can have a complex ecosystem of electrical wires, motors, and tubes that is difficult for non-professionals to deal with. Many people will be tempted to check these electrical faults by themselves and this is not advisable. The circuit is complicated and can cause shorts if not done properly. You would need a professional to deal with this.
Once a compressor in the central cooling system begins to turn on and off in a short stretch of time, it can put a lot of strain on the unit. It will be complicated to solve because of a number of possibilities that can happen. Problems like this should be dealt with by a professional to avoid the premature wearing out of the components and the eventual breakdown. It can be caused by a number of probable systems that could be at fault and only a professional can handle.
An air conditioning unit is a valuable asset for homes and offices. Not only because they release cool air and keep us comfortable, but also give out clean and fresh air. As a responsible owner of an air conditioning unit, we have to keep the unit in excellent working condition, which means regular maintenance and servicing. Although, let the professionals handle things that a professional should do.
How often do you have your air conditioning unit maintained and serviced?