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How Often to Service Your Air Conditioner to Ensuring Peak Performance

Air conditioning units are crucial for maintaining comfort in our homes and workplaces, especially during the sweltering summer months.  However, like any other mechanical system, air conditioners require regular maintenance to operate efficiently and effectively.

The frequency of service can significantly impact not only the performance of your AC unit but also its lifespan and your indoor air quality (IAQ).  This comprehensive guide explores how often you should service your air conditioner, the signs that indicate it’s time for a check-up, and the benefits of sticking to a regular maintenance schedule.

Determining the Frequency of AC Service

The general recommendation by heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals is that you should have your air conditioner serviced at least once a year.  This annual service typically includes checking the system’s refrigerant pressures, testing the controller/thermostat accuracy, inspecting electrical components, monitoring the mechanical components, flushing out drains, and cleaning the condenser coils where needed.

However, several factors might result in more frequent servicing being required:

  • The type and age of your AC unit – Older units or those that run continuously (reaching end of life sooner) may need more attention.
  • Usage patterns and region – Homes in hotter climates like Brisbane and Northern Queensland where the AC runs more often might require six-monthly servicing.
  • Environmental factors – Units exposed to excessive dust or dander from pets might need additional care.

Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Servicing

Waiting for the annual check-up might not always be enough.  Be on the lookout for the following signs that a service may be needed sooner rather than later, or even air conditioner repairs needed:

  • Decreased efficiency – If your energy bills have spiked or the unit struggles to maintain the set temperature, it might be time for a service.
  • Unusual noises – These can indicate a range of issues, from electrical problems to mechanical faults.
  • Odd odours – This can result from stale condensate water in drain or tray through to mould growth throughout indoor unit.

Benefits of Regular AC Maintenance

The benefits of functional air conditioning cannot be understated.  Regularly servicing of your air conditioner can lead to numerous benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Extended lifespan – Regular maintenance can prevent wear and tear from escalating into more serious issues.
  • Improved air quality – Clean filters and coils mean healthier air circulating in your space.
  • Efficient climate control – Maintained AC units require less energy to run and control indoor climate more effectively.

Energy efficiency air conditioner with man turning home aircon on and solar panels on roof

DIY Air Conditioner Maintenance Guide

While professional servicing is crucial, there are maintenance tasks you can perform yourself to help keep your AC in top condition between professional visits.  These DIY AC service tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Checking and cleaning the air filters – This simple task can significantly impact your AC’s efficiency and the quality of air in your home.
  • Checking and clearing the condensate drain – Ensuring this is clear can prevent water damage to the AC unit, wall/floor below the unit, and any personal items in its path.
  • Clearing around the units – It’s important to keep the area around indoor and outdoor unit clear to allow adequate air flow and help prevent foliage or animals creeping into condenser.

How Often to Service Air Conditioner

Recapping our discussion, the frequency of servicing your air conditioner depends on various factors, but aiming for at least an annual check-up is a good rule of thumb.  Paying attention to your unit’s performance and condition can help you determine if more frequent servicing is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of not servicing my air conditioner regularly?

Neglecting regular service of your air conditioner can lead to a range of issues, including reduced efficiency, higher energy bills, and premature system failure.  When an AC unit isn’t maintained, it has to work harder to cool your space, which puts extra strain on the system components.  This can cause wear and tear to accelerate, potentially leading to costly repairs or the need for an early replacement.

Additionally, a lack of maintenance can result in poor air quality.  Dirty filters and coils can harbour dust, pollen, and other pollutants.  This is where air conditioning can make you sick.

Can I perform any AC maintenance tasks myself?

Yes, there are several home air conditioner maintenance tasks you can perform yourself to help keep your air conditioner running smoothly between professional services.  The most important and easiest is regularly checking and cleaning the air filters when dirty.  This can significantly improve your AC unit’s efficiency and the quality of air in your home.

You can also easily keep the area around the outdoor unit clear of debris, leaves, and vegetation to ensure proper airflow.  Checking the condensate drain for clogs is another useful task that can help prevent water damage.  However, more technical tasks, such as checking refrigerant levels, testing electrical, and inspecting mechanical components, should be left to professionals.

How do I know if my air conditioner needs more than just servicing?

If your air conditioner is experiencing frequent breakdowns, not cooling as efficiently as it used to, or making unusual noises for an AC, even after regular servicing, it might need more than just maintenance.  These signs could indicate underlying issues that require repairs or, in some cases, a total system replacement.  An increase in energy bills despite routine maintenance is another indicator that your unit might be nearing the end of its useful life and struggling to maintain performance levels.

Professional HVAC service technician with money savings during service and inspection

What does a professional AC service include?

A professional AC service typically includes a comprehensive check of the entire system.  This involves inspecting and cleaning the condenser coils where appropriate, checking the refrigerant levels, testing the controller/thermostat for accuracy, inspecting mechanical parts, and examining the electrical connections for safety.

Technicians also lubricate moving parts to reduce friction, check/clean the air filter, and ensure the condensate drain is clear to prevent water damage.  These steps help in addressing potential issues before they turn into major problems, ensuring your air conditioner runs efficiently and effectively.

How can I find a reliable AC service provider?

Finding a reliable residential AC service provider requires a bit of research.  Start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours who have had positive experiences with local service providers.  Online reviews and ratings on trusted platforms can also provide insights into the reliability and quality of services offered by different companies.  Look for providers with certifications and licenses, as these indicate professional training and adherence to industry standards.  It’s also beneficial to choose a service provider that offers clear, upfront pricing and guarantees on their work.


Regular maintenance is key to ensuring your air conditioner operates efficiently, provides healthy air, and has a long service life.  Adhering to a yearly service schedule, while also being vigilant for signs that your unit needs attention, can save you money and keep your space comfortable year-round.  Always remember, a well-maintained air conditioner is more reliable, efficient, and likely to serve you well through the heat.

If you or anyone you know need help with an air conditioner maintenance service in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast, or Sunshine Coast, reach out to our AC maintenance team today.