An air-conditioning unit that is functioning well can save you a lot of discomfort in hot and cold weather. Just like a car, these units need to be serviced regularly to get the best bang for your buck and ensure they last as long as they are meant to. Major servicing should only be done by a professional. In between this, you can clean out the filters and make sure there are no grass stems, bushes or any other rubbish growing up around the external part.
Cleaning the filters is not difficult; it is reaching up to them that is the hardest part. Use a safe ladder and always wear shoes that fit well, not house slippers when you get on the ladder.
- For ducted systems, slide the filter out of the grille in the ceiling after you pull it down. Then wash it in warm water and allow to sun-dry.
- For split systems, open the fascia and remove the filter. Then vacuum the dust off it.
Even though you may not see the need for professional servicing, things can happen of which you are not aware. For instance, with the ducted system that is found in the roofs of many homes, insects, mice, rats and possums can get into the ceiling cavity and cause damage. They can eat through or tear the ducting that leads from the unit to each room. This allows air to escape, not only making your unit work harder than it needs to, but reducing the efficiency so you need to turn it up. This costs more to run.
In some cases, rats or mice can make nests in the ducting or even in the unit if they get into the ceiling. You’ll know when this happens because of the nasty odour emanating from the outlets in your home. It is best to allow the professionals to clean it out as they’ll also need to repair the damage at the same time.
Some models of air conditioners have a cleaning reminder notice that pops up on the screen of the remote when cleaning is due. This is a timed message, so if you haven’t used your air-con much when you see it on the screen, you may not need to have a professional in to clean it immediately.
That said, it is a good idea to clean the filters every six months or at the change of seasons. You may not use it much during autumn or spring, but cleaning off filters at the end of winter and summer is highly recommended. If you are unable to climb the ladder, get a handyman or a friend in to do it rather than risking a fall.