Similar to servicing your car, your AC unit requires regular servicing (at least once a year) to ensure that it is running at full capacity. However, you may choose to skip servicing in fear of getting stuck with a big bill.
The truth of the matter is that this decision will end up costing you in the long-run. A replacement can run up to thousands of dollars, whereas regular servicing will only add to the lifespan of your AC unit.
Time to call in a professional
Of course, there are several scenarios where you may need to get your AC unit serviced on a more frequent basis. For this reason, you must be vigilant of any signs that your AC unit is not performing as it should.
Signs indicating that it is time to call in a professional include:
- Diminished airflow – If you notice the airflow coming from your AC unit has vastly diminished, it is often a sign of a severe problem. The air filters may need to be replaced or there could be a blockage in the drainpipe, but if it is neither of these things, then the compressor may need to be replaced.
- Hot air instead of cold – When your AC unit experiences a switch from cold to hot air, this is most definitely a problem. Two of the most common issues that can arise from this scenario are a defective compressor or low refrigerant.
- Excess moisture or leakage – The small amount of water on your AC unit outside of your home is normal. However, when you begin to notice excess moisture or leakage (especially inside your home), this is a red flag. Most likely, this could be a sign of a refrigerant leak.
- Strange noises or smells – AC units are intended to be quiet in operation and odourless. Any change in noise level may indicate a mechanical problem, whereas a strange smell can indicate a burned-out circuit, a clog in the air filters or even mould.
- An unexplained spike in electricity bills – When your AC unit is experiencing an issue, it becomes more inefficient. This means that it has to work harder to achieve peak performance, thereby triggering an unexplained spike in your electricity bills.
How do I keep my AC unit running at peak efficiency?
It is true that when it comes to a mechanical system, such as an AC unit, one can never be too certain of what can go on in the backend operation. However, while aircon service is one approach to prolonging the lifespan of your equipment, the manner in which you treat it in between services matters as well.
This means checking, cleaning, and replacing air filters on a regular basis (at least once every 3 to 6 months depending on the amount of usage) to maintain good air quality in your home. It is advised to replace the filters with ones recommended by the manufacturers.
In addition, a little cleaning can go a long way. Hovering with a vacuum cleaner over the air intake and cleaning the vents is necessary to clear debris from the inside and to avoid clogs that can lead to bigger (more expensive) issues.
The bottom line is that regular servicing improves the efficiency of your AC unit. According to research, for every year that you use your AC unit but do not service it, the unit loses 5% of its efficiency. On the contrary, with regular maintenance, it will get back 95% of its original efficiency.
Personal service from the very beginning
Your AC unit should be professionally serviced on a regular basis. The technician will test the accuracy of the thermostat, check for leaks, inspect the refrigerant levels, measure airflow, and make sure that all the internal components are working at an optimum level. This will keep the unit running well for years to come.
Of course, there are also times where it may become necessary to replace your AC unit for the purpose of avoiding more hassle than its worth.
While some manufacturers recommend aircon maintenance once a year, others advise that as long as you routinely clean the air filters and unit, air conditioning maintenance is only necessary if a fault happens to develop.