As an expensive item, we want to keep our split systems running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Like your car they need regular check-ups to make sure everything is working OK.
A healthy air con unit also helps ensure you aren’t spending more than you need on electricity bills.
Whilst there are small things you can do to maintain the system (see below), due to the presence of electricity and chemicals a professional should always be the one you call to give your split system a service.
But how often should you book a service to keep your machine running at optimum efficiency?
Thankfully, services aren’t required that often. Experts generally agree that if your unit is functioning properly then once a year is best for a service. With some companies, it’s as easy as booking in online through their website.
But what if my machine’s not working well and it’s not time yet?
If your split system does show signs of irregularity, then that’s probably a good time to call a technician. You don’t want it packing up unexpectedly during a mid-summer heat wave and dealing with the cost of an emergency visit.
Why do we need to service our split systems?
A service will not only clean up areas you can’t (and shouldn’t) get to but they can also identify any issues you might not be aware of. A service can help you:
- Manage electricity usage/spending
- Conserve energy
- Make sure the unit is working at maximum efficiency
- To check for any problems which may become bigger later on
- Check nothing is leaking and thereby potentially harming your family
- Identify broken equipment
- Make sure the unit is ready for peak use times.
What needs to be done?
A qualified technician will come to your home and check the unit; both inside and out. When there they can access parts of your split system that you shouldn’t.
Basically they will check for:
- Leaks and fix any seals that are letting coolant out
- Chemical levels of things such as refrigerant and take away any excess
- Check the thermostat is accurate
- Inspect any electrical parts
- Check that the motors and belts are working properly, replacing broken ones and oiling them as necessary.
When should I book my service in?
To avoid the rush during summer, a split system unit should be looked at during the time of year when you least use it. Any time with milder weather; early spring or autumn is ideal. If you are worried about how busy the technicians might be during summer, then book yourself in during winter.
Tip: If you choose the same time every year it will be easier to remember.
Is there anything more I can do to improve the effectiveness of my machine?
As well as ensuring a yearly check there’s some pretty simple ways you can maintain optimum performance from a fully functioning machine.
Make use of the manufacturer’s instructions; have a look over the booklet that came with your split system. It will show you what parts of your air con are removable.
This is important as you can then;
- Wash any removable air conditioning filters. Fill up the bath with a mild detergent and warm water or got at it with a hose (be careful though). Make sure the filters are dry before you replace them. Cleaning / replacing filters can improve the efficiency of a split system by up to 15 percent, which can make all the difference (so it’s good to get the job done right).
- If you find the filters are beyond cleaning or if your unit sounds like it’s struggling before you conduct your clean; call the repairers.
- Use the timer. If you know an extremely hot/cold day is coming, set the system to start whilst you’re at work so it’s not struggling to be effective when the temperature is at its worst.
- Set the energy saver on timer when you are home. This will avoid it continuing to run if you nod off on the couch.
You can also:
- Resist the temptation to have the unit set at a very low temperature. This will make the system struggle a bit more to work, wearing out the motor and seals.
- Most brands suggest setting the unit at around 23 degrees, which will save you on consumption whilst making sure you’re still comfortable. At night, you can continue to save energy, either by turning the unit off all together or setting it at a higher temperature to match the overnight drop in temperature.
- Check the outside part of your split system. Dirt, leaves, weeds and other debris can get caught in it and obstruct the flow. Clear all around it and make sure nothing is in the way.
- Remove dust. You can go over the outside of the unit and its grills with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- Put your remote somewhere safe, away from little hands and replace the batteries as needed.
- Consider the location of your furniture; try and ensure the path in front of the unit is clear so the air can get to you.
- Keep your windows, curtains and blinds closed during the day. This will keep some of the heat out so that you won’t need to pump your system up to full power. Properly sun backed curtains are also a great investment and can maintain the inside temperature too.
Doing your best to optimise the flow and conditions under which your split system runs will save you on energy bills and repairs. As will a yearly service and some home maintenance, ensuring the unit is ready to perform at peak when you most rely on it to counteract the heat or cold.