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Optimising air conditioning performance: our complete maintenance guide

16th Feb '24 • By Ed

Air conditioning units need regular maintenance to keep them performing at their best, and to prolong the period between now and a full, expensive replacement of your air-con system. You should keep an eye out for any loss of power or performance, and generally, you should be looking to service your air conditioning unit at least every year.


Air conditioning is an indispensable component of maintaining a comfortable living environment, regulating temperatures regardless of the weather. However, to ensure peak performance and prolong the life of your air conditioning unit, regular maintenance is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore key considerations for air conditioning maintenance, including when to schedule servicing, the importance of filter cleaning, and a seasonal maintenance checklist to keep your system running efficiently year-round.

Article Summary

  1. When To Maintain Your Air Conditioning
  2. Importance of Regular Filter Cleaning
  3. Seasonal Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist
  4. Energy-Efficiency Tips for Optimal Performance
  5. DIY Troubleshooting and Quick Fixes
  6. Upgrading for Long-Term Efficiency

1. When To Maintain Your Air Conditioning

Air conditioning units demand regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and extend their lifespan. It's advisable to schedule professional servicing at least once a year. While this may incur a cost, it's a smart investment compared to the potential expense of premature replacement. Additionally, keeping an eye on any loss of power or performance can prompt interim maintenance tasks that contribute to the overall health of your air conditioning unit.

2. Importance of Regular Filter Cleaning

A critical aspect of air conditioning maintenance involves the consistent cleaning of filters and coils. Clean filters not only contribute to the efficient performance of your unit but also play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of illness and germs within your home. To maintain a healthy living space, it is crucial to clear and replace filters as often as necessary, ensuring both the well-being of your family and the longevity of your air conditioning unit.


3. Seasonal Air Conditioning Maintenance Checklist

To ensure your air conditioning unit remains in top condition throughout the year, adopting a seasonal maintenance checklist is essential. Here's a comprehensive guide, broken down by seasons, to help you proactively address specific tasks and prevent potential issues:


  • Inspect and Clean Air Filters: Start the season by inspecting and cleaning or replacing air filters. This promotes optimal airflow and improves indoor air quality.

  • Check Thermostat Settings: Test your thermostat to ensure it is functioning correctly. Consider recalibrating or upgrading to a programmable thermostat for more precise temperature control.

  • Inspect Ductwork for Leaks: Check for any leaks or damage in your ductwork. Seal any gaps or hire a professional to ensure efficient air distribution.


  • Clean and Clear Outdoor Unit: Trim vegetation around the outdoor unit and remove debris such as leaves or grass clippings. Ensure the unit has unobstructed airflow for efficient operation.

  • Inspect and Clean Evaporator and Condenser Coils: Clean the coils to prevent dirt buildup, which can reduce the unit's efficiency. This task is crucial for maintaining proper heat exchange.

  • Check Refrigerant Levels: Verify that your air conditioner has the correct refrigerant levels. Low refrigerant levels can lead to reduced efficiency and potential system damage.


  • Inspect and Clean Heat Exchanger: For units with heating capabilities, inspect and clean the heat exchanger. This ensures safe and efficient heating during colder months.

  • Test the Heating Function: Run your system in heating mode to confirm proper functionality. Address any issues before the colder months arrive.

  • Seal Windows and Doors: Check for drafts around windows and doors. Seal any gaps with weatherstripping to prevent heat loss during the winter.


  • Cover the Outdoor Unit: If applicable, cover the outdoor unit during the winter months to protect it from harsh weather conditions and debris.

  • Check Insulation: Inspect the insulation on refrigerant lines. Ensure it is intact to prevent energy loss and system inefficiency.

  • Verify Carbon Monoxide Detector: If your system uses natural gas, ensure your carbon monoxide detector is in working order. This is crucial for safety during heating season.

4. Energy-Efficiency Tips for Optimal Performance

In addition to regular maintenance, adopting energy-efficient practices can significantly enhance the performance of your air conditioning unit while also reducing your environmental impact. Here are some practical tips to optimise energy efficiency:

  • Thermostat Optimisation: Adjust your thermostat settings based on the season. In the summer, set it to the highest comfortable temperature, and in the winter, set it to the lowest comfortable temperature. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat to automate temperature adjustments.

  • Sealing Air Leaks: Check for drafts around windows and doors, and seal any air leaks with weatherstripping or caulking. This prevents cool air from escaping in the summer and warm air from escaping in the winter, improving overall energy efficiency.

  • Utilise Ceiling Fans: Using ceiling fans can help distribute air more evenly, making your space feel cooler without overworking the air conditioner. Ensure your ceiling fans are set to rotate counterclockwise in the summer for optimal cooling.


5. DIY Troubleshooting and Quick Fixes

Empower yourself with the ability to address common air conditioning issues promptly. Here are some simple DIY troubleshooting tips to keep your system running smoothly:

  • Check and Clear Blocked Vents: Ensure that furniture or other objects are not blocking air vents. Restricted airflow can lead to reduced cooling efficiency. Regularly vacuum and dust vents to maintain proper airflow.

  • Inspect and Clean the Condensate Drain: Over time, the condensate drain can accumulate algae and debris, leading to clogs. Locate the drain line and use a mixture of bleach and water to clean it. This helps prevent water damage and ensures proper drainage.

  • Maintain Outdoor Units: Keep the outdoor unit free from debris, such as leaves and branches. Trim vegetation around the unit to ensure proper airflow. Restricted airflow can cause the system to overheat and malfunction.

6. Upgrading for Long-Term Efficiency

Consider upgrading your air conditioning system to take advantage of the latest technologies and improve long-term efficiency:

  • Energy-Efficient Models: Invest in an energy-efficient air conditioning unit with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. Although the upfront cost may be higher, these units can significantly reduce energy consumption, leading to long-term cost savings.

  • Smart Thermostats: Upgrade to a smart thermostat that allows you to control temperature settings remotely and create customised schedules. This not only adds convenience but also enables more precise temperature management, optimizing energy usage.

  • Advanced Features: Explore air conditioning units with advanced features, such as variable-speed compressors and zoning capabilities. These features enhance comfort, improve efficiency, and allow you to customise climate control for different areas of your home.

Implementing these tips can contribute to the longevity of your air conditioning unit, reduce energy costs, and enhance overall comfort in your living space. As you embark on your journey towards a more efficient cooling system, consult with a local air conditioning specialist for expert advice tailored to your specific needs.

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