Generally speaking, you should get your air conditioner serviced at least once per year. The frequency is dependent on the type of air conditioner and the usage pattern. Air conditioners that run fulltime such as schools and offices will need to be serviced more often to improve the quality of air and the life of the system.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t check in on your air conditioner more often than that. It is always important to change the filters according to the manufacturer’s specifications, and if there is a problem with the air conditioner (we’ll discuss problems in a moment) then you should call an air conditioner service technician right away regardless of whether it is a split system aircon, ducted aircon or multi-split system.
When Should You Get Your AC Service?
While you may think that the best time of year to get your AC serviced is in the summer, or just as it is getting warm outside, the answer is that you should do it a few months before it starts to get hot. Why? There are several reasons.
Beating The Rush
If you’re thinking the best time to service an air conditioner is just before summer hits, then the odds are good that everyone else is thinking the same thing. That means there’s going to be a long wait to get a technician out to look at your air conditioner. It may also mean that the price of getting the air conditioner serviced is going to go up, because there is such high demand for the service. Get your air conditioner serviced as early as you can to beat the rush.
Be Prepared For Repairs
If you leave your air conditioner servicing for when it starts to get hot outside, and then the air conditioner service technician tells you that there’s a problem and that they need to order a part or–heaven forbid–you need a new air conditioner, then you’re going to be stuck waiting for the new part or new unit in the heat. And that’s something that no one wants. It’s far better to check the air conditioner in the spring, before you need it, and if anything is broken then you’re not relying on the air conditioner to keep you cool. You can just open a window.
Getting a Good Deal
Because so many homeowners neglect to get their air conditioners serviced before the summer, very often the service technicians aren’t going to have much to do in the winter or spring. So, to increase demand, the air conditioner company will offer deals and savings for getting your air conditioner serviced during the off-months. You can save a lot of money if you take advantage of these sales and deals.
How To Know If Your AC is Broken
No matter what kind of AC unit you have, be it central air or some other air conditioning system when it breaks it always breaks at a bad time. Usually, it’s in the heat of the summer. What are the warning signs that you need to get an HVAC technician out to look at your air conditioning unit?
The first sign is the most obvious: warm air. If your cooling system is acting as a heating system, it’s time to get HVAC maintenance. This isn’t a hard thing to notice, but as soon as you notice it you should jump on the problem right away. Often, an air conditioner that is blowing warm air can be salvaged and brought back to life, but only if it’s caught quickly. An air conditioner that is allowed to pump bad air might get progressively worse, and then the repair will be more expensive.
The second sign is insufficient airflow. If you notice that your air conditioner is running but it’s not blowing out a lot of air, hot or cold, that’s a warning sign. It may be something as small as a clogged air filter, but it may also mean that the blower simply isn’t blowing as it should be. That’s something to get looked at. Again, the faster that you address the problem, the less time the problem will have to get worse.
Humidity is a third reason. A good HVAC system should regulate the humidity in the building so that even if it’s hot and muggy outside it should be relatively dry inside. But if you’re noticing humidity in your home or business, then the cold air from the air conditioner isn’t going to feel as great. And that means it’s time for emergency maintenance.
Water leaks can be a big problem. An air conditioner uses evaporator coils to cool down the air, but if water is building up and starting to leak, that could mean that the coils are frozen over. A leak could also mean that there’s a problem with the condensate drain tube. As a rule of thumb, if there is water running anywhere in your home or business where it shouldn’t be then a massive problem could be forming. There may be quite a bit more water built up somewhere in the system that is just waiting to come pouring out–or it may already be leaking and causing damage to drywall, wood, carpet, or other appliances.
Air conditioners go through cycles as part of their normal working operation. They turn on for a while, cool things down, then turn off and take a break. It’s not normal for an air conditioner to run constantly–that could be a bad sign that you’re going to burn out a motor–but it’s also not a good sign if your air conditioner turns on and off frequently. It may be a small problem, but frequent cycles is often a sign you need to replace the whole unit.
Air conditioners make noise as they have moving parts. That’s normal and shouldn’t be a worry. But if those noises get loud, or remarkably different, then you want to get that checked out. Unusual noises could mean that something is grinding. Maybe it’s the motor, or maybe something is caught in the fan. Rattling can indicate loose parts. Buzzing could be a number of things–none of them good. If your air conditioner is making strange noises, it’s time to make a call.
Finally, if your air conditioner is giving off bad smells, then there could be one of any number of problems, but the most likely is that something is growing. And that’s never good. Microbial growth in an air conditioner could be bad not just for the unit, but for the health of everyone breathing in the air. And you’ll want to take care of it quickly.