With summer seeming to have arrived early this year, it’s time to make sure your ducted air conditioning system is in tip top shape. Regular maintenance helps to extend the life of your A/C system, so we are going to give you some easy to follow steps for a simple maintenance plan.
First, however, let’s take a look at the differences between ducted and split A/C systems, so you can determine which one is best for your situation.
Quick overview of ducted and split A/C systems
Ducted A/C pushes air through pipes or ducts in the attic, entering each room or hallway via vents usually located in the ceiling. The main unit or condenser is either located outside your house or sometimes on the roof.
A ducted system is ideal for cooling or heating an entire house with just one condenser, however installation is more complex, and the initial system outlay more expensive. It is, however, a discrete system that gives you the flexibility of regulating the temperature in different zones throughout the house.
On the other hand, a split A/C system has a large head and vent system installed on an internal wall with air flowing from the main condenser unit outside. In comparison, a split system is simple to install and less costly to purchase, but each head can only feed into one room, so you need multiple systems to provide cooling throughout an entire house. This is why many homeowners prefer a ducted system simply because they don’t want large obtrusive heads on their walls, along with a condenser for each head outside.
If you compare the cost of a ducted system to a single split system, then clearly the latter wins. However, when it comes to the entire house, then a ducted system can actually be more cost-effective, depending on how many split systems you need to install and the size of these units.
Quick overview of a regular maintenance for your A/C system
As mentioned earlier, regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit is important to the efficiency and longevity of the A/C system, so here are two tips to get you started.
Clean the indoor return air filter
Cleaning the indoor return air filter removes all the dust and debris that can prevent the system working efficiently. These filters can be removed by opening the return air grille in the ceiling (you might need to undo a few screws first) or in the case of a split system remove the front panel and slide the filter out of the grille. The filter needs to be washed in warm soapy water and replaced when dry. It’s advisable to do this at the beginning of summer and winter.
Clean the condenser coil
Access might be a problem if your system is located on the roof, but it should be fine if it’s on the side of your house. You need to unscrew the fan to access the coil, remove any debris, clean it with a coil cleaner and then if it’s outside, hose it down. If it’s on the roof, then you might want to call the experts because it’s going to be more difficult to access and clean.
If your A/C hasn’t been serviced for a while or if it’s outside your skillset, then don’t hesitate to call a professional before the summer rush sets in!
If your system is blowing air that feels a bit warmer than normal, is giving off a mouldy or burning smell, or you see an unexplained increase in your energy bills, don’t just leave it. It’s at times like this that it’s worth having your A/C inspected by professionals straight away. Otherwise, you could be without your cooling or heating at the times you want it most!