The short answer is annually. Put it in your calendar or ask your installer to contact you once a year to set up a service appointment for your air conditioner with their HVAC technician. They may even offer you a discount if they offer a maintenance program for customers that you can sign up for. Another bonus of this is that they will give you customer preference if your aircon goes down in peak season. There’s nothing worse than waiting days for assistance when a heatwave hits and your aircon’s gone AWOL.
Think there’s nothing wrong with your aircon, so you’re wasting your time and money on an annual service? Think again. Most air conditioning systems have a clause in the warranty that requires annual ‘preventative’ maintenance. Failure to do so could mean your warranty is voided.
Have you considered the cost savings that an annual service will give you too? An HVAC system that is working efficiently will need less power to operate, which means lower energy bills for you. It is estimated that it could save you up to 15% of your electricity bill.
A good time to have your aircon inspected, serviced, and cleaned is in spring. This will also ensure it operates at peak energy efficiency during the summer months when you want it working at its best. During the year the condensing coils and air filters accumulate dust and dirt. This could reduce the unit’s efficiency by as much as 5 percent, which means it won’t cool your rooms as well as it could if it were clean.
A yearly maintenance check can also prevent earlier-than-normal breakdowns. Even minor repairs can cost a few hundred dollars. You want to avoid an issue getting to the point where parts need to be replaced because issues were not picked earlier.
An annual inspection should include a check on the motor, blower, drain line and coils. Operating pressures and temperatures shoudl be looked at and adjusted. The lines, refrigerant levels, and connections also need to be looked at in detail. Only a licensed HVAC contractor should work on your system. Check they have adequate workers’ compensation and liability insurance too. You don’t want to be liable if they are injured on your property.
What if your technician recommends you replace or unit, or supplies you with a massive repair quote? If your air conditioner is under 15 years old and has had annual maintenance, it may be worthwhile getting a second opinion.
When to call for an emergency service
If your aircon unit starts emitting strange sounds, call in the experts. Also, turn off the system. Continuing to use the aircon could lead to further damage. Here are some sounds that units can make, what the issue behind the sounds may be, and what can be done for them:
A screeching sound
If a screeching noise comes from the blower motor, there may be a problem with the belt or motor bearing. Belts are inexpensive to repair, and ideally should be replaced before they snap as they blower won’t turn if they do break. Regarding the blower, it may be that the oil ports need lubricating. Adding lubricant often solves issues with noisy motors. If your unit is a non-sealed one you could lubricate the motor yourself. However, ensure you use the correct oil. Everyday household lubricant products are not heavy enough to be used for air conditioners.
Thumping or clanking sounds
All loud sounds usually indicate there is an issue with the blower assembly or motor. Turn off the unit immediately. If it rattles, it may mean a component is loose, and it should be tightened before it can disconnect or break. Or, you should check if blower is out of alignment. Whatever the sound, a motor assembly should only be inspected by a qualified technician.
A thwacking sound
This noise could be caused by something becoming stuck in the blower blades. There could also be something coming into contact with the blower while it turns. The reason you want this to be fixed sooner rather than later is it can cause the motor to wear out prematurely because there is resistance against it.
A clicking sound
Repeated clicking noises that are emitted from the control panel or outside compressor indicate a relay may be defective. Or, an electrical control may be causing the relay to timeout and fail.
- A rattling or a screaming noise from the outside compressor and fan unit could be telling you your compressor is damaged or failing.
- A humming noise could indicate the starting capacitor is starting to fail, or there is an issue with the motor.
- A squeal when the unit starts is normal but if it continues get it checked out.
For more information about air conditioning units, repairs and servicing visit https://www.penair.com.au/servicing/