Air conditioner servicing and maintenance: What you need to know

RACV trades person fixing an air conditioner

RACV Staff

Posted September 08, 2023

How often should I service my air conditioner? How do I increase the lifespan of my air conditioning system? Here’s what you need to know about regularly servicing your air conditioner.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), around two-thirds of Victorians have one or more air conditioners in their home. With warmer temperatures around the corner, it’s important to think about how to cool your home efficiently and cost-effectively

Overall, air conditioning problems and breakdowns are on the rise. RACV Home Emergency Assist data reveals that emergency plumbing and electrical cooling jobs spiked 62 per cent in December 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. 

Hot temperatures and above-average humidity may categorise the upcoming Victorian summer, thanks to El Nino. With the ABS finding that most Victorian households used their air conditioning for an average of nine weeks or more over the summer period, your cooling unit may be under more stress this summer.

Though you might think your air conditioner unit can work tirelessly year after year, there are important reasons – both health and financial - to get your air conditioner serviced regularly by a qualified professional.

Why you should service your air conditioner regularly

Reduce bacteria and improve air quality

When your air conditioner filters get clogged over years of use, the cool air it pumps out can be full of dust, mould and bacteria.

A regular service of your air conditioner unit will result in cleaner air filters and improved air quality - benefiting all household members, but particularly those suffering from persistent allergies such as hay fever, and breathing conditions such as asthma.

Even summer sniffles, colds and sore throats developed in the home can be reduced through cleaner air quality from your air conditioner.

If you do have an older air conditioner, a qualified professional may even advise you to purchase a new one. Modern air conditioner units are typically equipped with an internal filtration system that can help reduce bacteria particles in the air recirculation process.

Reduce running costs and electricity bills

Cooling the home is likely to be one of the biggest contributors to your energy bills. Depending on the size of your home, the cost of running an air conditioner can range from a few cents per hour for a small unit in a small space, to a few dollars per hour for a larger home – which can very quickly add up over a hot and humid summer.

These running costs are likely to increase if your air conditioner is working less efficiently. A service can ensure that your air conditioner unit is running as efficiently as possible, and may help you save money on your energy bills. 

woman changing air conditioner temperature

An air conditioning service may help save you money on your energy bills. Image: Getty.

Increase the lifespan of your air conditioning unit

The lifespan of your air conditioner doesn’t just depend on how frequently you use it, or how cool you choose to keep your home. Factors outside of your control, such as damage from storms, hail, dust storms and other weather events, can affect the performance and longevity of your unit.

Although the typical air conditioner can last more than a decade, regular servicing can extend its lifespan even longer.

While bad smells, limited air flow, warmer than usual air or a high energy bill are all tell-tale signs to immediately get a service, expensive breakdowns can occur without warning – underlining the importance of regular and preventative servicing.

On the flip side, without regular servicing, your air conditioner may last fewer than 10 years - meaning you may be faced with spending thousands of dollars for a new air conditioning unit.

When should I service my air conditioner?

It’s best to have a qualified professional undertake a service of your air conditioner before summer starts, during the months of October or November. General maintenance, including vacuuming the air conditioner’s filters, should occur during summer.

If you also use a reverse cycle system for heating, April and May is a good time for a professional heater service to ensure everything is functioning ahead of the cold months. Similarly, if you use your split system as your primary heater, clean the filters between June and August.

How often should I service my air conditioner?

Most air conditioner manufacturers recommend an annual service.

Undertake regular checks on your air conditioner’s filters and performance over summer. A quick check to ensure no dust build up can improve the efficiency and longevity of your air conditioner.

RACV Trades can help get your home in order.
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