At the peak of summer, it’s easy to overlook how hard our air conditioners are working. Apart from keeping yourself cool, you should also be taking care of your ducted cooling system.
If you want to save yourself from a surprise breakage or an overblown electricity bill, read the tips in this article.
We have put together a list of 18 ways to maintain your ducted system over summer and keep it running for years into the future.
We’ll cover general tips as well as some specific information about ducted evaporative coolers and ducted refrigerated air conditioning.
A ducted air conditioning system works using a filtering system that regulates cool air in your home. Once its filters take on an excess amount of dust and airborne pollutants, it will eventually slow the whole unit down and can spread harmful allergens in your home. Cleaning air filters and replacing damaged ones will help ensure your ducted system is performing at its peak for the rest of summer and into the future.
If you use ducted evaporative cooling to beat the heat, you’ll also have to think about your cooling pads. Clean cooling pads are essential for optimum airflow and temperature control in evaporative systems.
By cleaning these pads and replacing them when they’re old or damaged, you can reduce the build-up of pollutants and minerals and maintain the efficiency of your system. This ensures you don’t overwork it during those hot summer days.
Whether you have ducted refrigerated air conditioning or evaporative cooling, it’s essential to schedule maintenance services for your unit.
As well as cooling pads and filters, regular servicing can ensure your system is clean and free of any faults that could lead to system failure. Servicing a ducted system can involve taking care of the unit itself as well as the ductwork, vents, and grilles. You should service your system every 2-3 years before peak summer usage, and you should book air conditioning repairs if you have any specific system concerns.
Keeping cool during summer doesn’t mean you need to freeze. If your air conditioner has a programmable thermostat, using it wisely will be highly beneficial in the long run.
It’s tempting to blast your AC to temperatures as low as possible. However, the best temperature to set your air conditioner at is between 24°C and 25°C. At this temperature, you’ll stay comfortable while saving on your energy bills and preventing your system from overworking.
Adding onto the point above, many people think that setting the temperature colder to start with and then adjusting it is the way to go.
Unfortunately, this will not cool your home any faster. It will just put extra stress on your system and extra dollars on your electricity bill, so you should not try this “hack”.
Unlike other states in Australia, Melbourne is renowned for its unpredictable weather. During the day it could be a scorching 37°C and then dip down to a mere 15°C at night. Turning off your ducted air conditioner during cooler weather will help prevent the system from overworking and save you money as well.
Turning your system off while you sleep is a great way to start. Unless it’s an especially hot night, you shouldn’t need anything more than a light breeze from an open window to get to sleep.
It’s common for outside temperatures to vary drastically throughout the day, let alone the week. However, if the weather forecast is predicting a consecutive hot spell that lasts for a couple of days or more, it will help to pre-cool your home. If your home is already prepared for the upcoming heatwave, your ducted unit won’t be overcompensating trying to compete with the sudden spike in temperature and demand.
Following on from the tip above, we recommend turning on your cooling system in the morning on days where excessive heat is expected.
Remember, both of these tips are about cooling your home before the heat sets in, not blasting excessively cold air to compensate. Whether you’re preparing your home for a hot afternoon or a hot week, you should still aim for that “Goldilocks” temperature of 24°C to 25°C.
A few of our tips are about using your air conditioner at a certain time, so why not automate the process? Many ducted cooling systems come with timer technology, allowing you to pre-set when your AC switches on.
If you don’t want to forget to switch on your system in the morning, simply set it the night before as you’re going to bed!
To keep your ducted cooler working at its best all summer, make sure it’s only cooling the spaces that are being used.
If your ducted air conditioning system has zones, use them to switch off the cooling in unoccupied spaces.
The spaces you utilise will change throughout the day, so your zoning should change too. You can cool your kitchen and living areas during the day and then swap to the bedrooms so they’re at a comfortable temperature before you go to bed!
By only cooling the areas you use, you’re saving money and saving your system from unnecessary work!
If the main thing you want to protect this summer is your wallet, consider using the energy-saving mode on your air conditioner.
Many systems have an energy-saving or eco mode, which will minimise electricity use, increase energy efficiency, and ensure gentle operation.
Most outdoor units are already installed in a shaded area to protect them from direct sunlight. But if your ducted system was installed out in the open, make sure you’ve got a way to shade it from the sunshine. An outdoor system can work up to 10% more efficiently when placed in a shaded location.
Take note of anything else that’s close to your outdoor unit. For example, tree branches that grow in the direction of your unit could be a hazard if they get close enough. For safety, be sure to trim these trees so they don’t affect your air conditioning.
Conversely, the heat output from an outdoor air conditioning unit can be enough to damage nearby plants. This is another important reason to consider the position and proximity of greenery.
Help take the workload off your ducted system by having a ventilation system installed on your roof. Approximately 25-35% of heat build-up in your home comes from your roof alone. Taking care of the excess heat in your roof not only helps your ducted air conditioner run more efficiently but also reduces the cost of your electricity bill.
While refrigerated systems require you to close your windows and doors for maximum effect, evaporative coolers are the opposite.
If you’re running a ducted evaporative cooler, make sure you open windows and/or doors for effective air circulation. This ensures that fresh, cool air can constantly be cycled through the house, and it prevents moisture and humidity levels from skyrocketing!
Summer is already hot enough! Give your air conditioner a break by avoiding heat-generating appliances. This can range from turning off lights to cooking your dinner on the BBQ outside rather than in the oven or on the stovetop.
As well as preventing extra heat, you can reduce heat in your home in other ways. We’ve already talked about ventilating the roof, but this is just the beginning.
You can close all your windows and doors (except if you’re using evaporative systems), and you can use block-out curtains and thick drapes. You should also look at your insulation and consider installing extra insulation throughout the rest of your home. The more heat you can keep out of your home, the easier it is for your air conditioner to keep everything cool.
If you’re installing a new ducted air conditioner, you need to plan every aspect. The location of the grilles, vents, ductwork, and outdoor unit are all important factors. You also need to consider zoning, system size, features, and capacity.
An air conditioning installation specialist can work closely with builders, developers, and architects to ensure your ducted system is designed for success!
A well maintained ducted cooling system will work wonders for you during summer. Ducted air conditioning offers whole-home cooling that is effective, efficient, individualised, and sleek. Unlike split system air conditioners or other cooling solutions, there is no visible indoor unit – only vents in the ceiling or floor.
Do you prefer powerful refrigerated cooling with reverse cycle heating? Maybe you’d rather have the fresh and natural cooling of a ducted evaporative system. Whatever your choice, ducted cooling is a great option!
For help designing, installing, or maintaining your ducted air conditioner, look no further than Australian Climate Systems. From evaporative cooling repairs to air conditioning services, we are here for you. Contact our team to install a new air conditioner, arrange a refrigerated or evaporative cooling service, and much more.