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How to Clean and Check Your Air Conditioner for Maximum Efficiency

The air-conditioner is everyone’s best friend in this tropical, humid climate. Before you go calling your trusty air con repair man, you may be able to provide a quick fix and save yourself some cash. We’re sharing some trouble shooting tips and showing you how to keep it functioning well for maximum efficiency.

Keep it Cool

Dirty or clogged air filters cause poor cooling performance. Carry out routine cleaning at least once every quarter. Unplug your air-con, take off the front cover grille, and remove the filter. Soak it in soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse and let it dry. If you have indoor pets, especially dogs and cats with long hair, you may need to clean the filter more often than every three months, even if you don’t have allergies. Pet hair can clog a filter – and eventually the indoor coil – faster. Better yet, examine the filter on a monthly basis to see if cleaning is necessary. Replace the filter if dirt can no longer be washed or brushed off, if filter particles come loose, or if it has many holes.

Coil Check

It’s a good idea to brush dirt and debris off evaporator and condenser coils on a yearly basis, or at the start of the hot months. Use a fin comb (this can be purchased from air-conditioner wholesalers) to straighten the aluminium fins and prevent them from bending and blocking airflow. If the air-con coils are located outdoors, keep the area around them clean, and trim any foliage to ensure adequate airflow.

Stop the Noise

Are you bothered by a noisy air-conditioner? Some air-con noises are perfectly normal, such as a sudden thumping noise when you turn on the unit, or a buzzing sound when the fan starts up. Other noises may require professional service to check out. A screeching sound can indicate a compressor glitch, a loose belt, or worn out bearings, while frequent popping or cracking noises may point to a problem in the air ducts. A hissing sound that lasts for a few seconds means the refrigerant is expanding, so it’s not a cause for concern. But loud or frequent hissing is a serious problem – there may be excess pressure inside the compressor or a leak in the internal valve. When in doubt, it’s always best to call a trained technician.

Fix It Up

Is your air-con more than 10 years old? Consider an upgrade.  Current models have better energy ratings and more efficient technology, such as inverter technology that helps save electricity. If your unit appears rusty and corroded or needs expensive repairs, it makes more sense to replace it.

For more handy hints to help solve pesky Singapore problems, click here.

By Verlaine Ramos-Marquez, Home & Décor, June 2015

Photo: 123rf.com

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