Air Conditioner Maintenance: A Practical Guide

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Summer’s in full swing! With the arrival of the first heat wave, you’re bound to use your air conditioner more often in the coming weeks. Did you know that you have to maintain an air conditioner all summer long to extend its useful life?

How long does an air conditioner last?

A portable or window air conditioner has an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years, according to Protégez-Vous. It is, however, possible to extend your air conditioner’s useful life with regular maintenance.

The importance of regular air conditioner maintenance

Why is it important to maintain your air conditioner? Whether it’s a portable or window model, proper maintenance of your appliance will:

  • Ensure that it continues to run smoothly
  • Save on energy (and costs)
  • Extend its useful life
  • Provide better air quality by eliminating bacteria and preventing mould
  • Prevent unnecessary air conditioner repair costs
  • Prevent the need to replace your air conditioner with a new one

Air conditioner maintenance steps

How do you go about maintaining a portable, window or mobile air conditioner to extend its useful life? Here are a few steps to follow.

Step 1: Disconnect your appliance

Before doing air conditioning maintenance, disconnect it from all sources of supply to prevent an accident.

Step 2: Clean the filters

It is critical to clean the filters of your air conditioner every two weeks. Filters accumulate air particles and dust, which can cause them to become clogged.

Once the air filters have been removed from your air conditioning unit, we recommend using a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dirt from the filters.

You can also clean them with soapy water and let them air dry completely before putting them back in your air conditioner.

Step 3: Follow the steps in your appliance owner manual

The AC maintenance instructions will vary, depending on whether your appliance is a portable or window air conditioner.

The following are the Protégez-Vous high-level instructions:

We recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions available in your air conditioner user guide and to refer to an air conditioning service if needed.

Air conditioning issues

If your air conditioner no longer cools or cools less than before, there may be a refrigerant gas leak in your cooling system. We suggest that you contact an air conditioning repair service promptly. Refrigerant gases are greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are harmful to the environment and are 140 to 11,700 times more potent than CO2.

You should always opt for air conditioning repair before replacing it with a new one and check your air conditioner maintenance contract if any. This prevents the use of raw materials needed to manufacture a new air conditioner.

Environmental impact of an unrecycled air conditioner

Has your air conditioner reached the end of its useful life despite your thorough maintenance? Before kicking it to the curb, did you know that recycling an air conditioner is the equivalent of refusing 684,932 plastic straws?

“An air conditioner generates an average of 1 tonne of GHGs. If the appliance isn’t responsibly recycled, the gases and all the other hazardous materials that it contains will not be processed and will instead be released into the environment. Halocarbons are major greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.”

— GoRecycle

By recycling your portable or window air conditioner at one of GoRecycle’s 300 drop-off points across Quebec, you contribute to the reclamation of more than 95% of appliance materials. This is concrete action that helps protect the environment. On that note, happy air conditioned summer!

About GoRecycle

GoRecycle is the only organization recognized by RECYC-QUÉBEC that ensures the responsible recycling of cooling appliances in Quebec. We recycle refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, wine coolers, dehumidifiers and water coolers through over 300 drop-off points in Quebec, and over 100 banner pickup partners with the purchase of a new fridge. GoRecycle is a non-profit organization (NPO).