AC tune ups & air conditioner maintenance
August 18, 2021
The last homeowner challenge you want to face is sitting inside without a working AC when summer temperatures begin to soar. Scheduling an AC tune up before the hottest and coldest months arrive comes with a number of benefits (other than staying comfortable indoors).
AC maintenance typically involves changing the air filters and checking the water collection pan for signs of a clogged line or leak. However, the simple tasks mentioned may not be enough to ensure that your HVAC is running optimally.
Similar to a vehicle, an HVAC is an investment. It has many moving parts that if properly maintained, will reward you with reliable service for years. An AC tune up is the equivalent to the annual vehicle tune up that ensures your car is running properly and won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Finding an AC tune up near me and scheduling one regularly before the hot season gets started reduces the risk of having your AC fail during the hottest days of the year.
Signs an AC tune up is due
If you don’t normally schedule an annual tune up or you’re a new homeowner and not sure of the last time your air conditioner was serviced, there are a few signs that may tell you it’s time to start looking for AC tune up specials:
- The unit is making noises or a change in the sound of the system
- Your utility bill has shot up without explanation
- Your unit doesn’t cool as it once did
- Inspection of the system shows dust and dirt in areas you are unable to reach
- Unusual odors are coming from your AC
- The room starts to feel damp or uncomfortably humid
- There are signs of a leak
Dangers of not getting an AC tune up regularly
Ignoring some of the signs that it’s time to get an AC tune up can lead to bigger issues. Some of the more obvious problems include a hot, stuffy room during a heat wave or an electric bill that breaks your monthly budget.
However, some of the signs that it’s time for a tune up are so subtle you may not even notice them. Ignoring an issue with your AC can cause damage to the unit.
You may ultimately have to replace it if you fail to do regular AC maintenance to keep it running at its best. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a professional to do periodic maintenance of your HVAC.
What is involved in an AC tune up?
An AC tune up is more involved and is best performed by an experienced professional. Some of the steps you’ll typically see during a tune up housecall include:
- Full inspection of the unit, indoors and outside
- Replacing the unit’s air filters
- Cleaning of the condenser coils
- Checking the AC drain line for clogs, cleaning and flushing it
- Inspecting the electrical system for wear and tear
- Replacing damaged or potentially faulty electrical parts
- Adjusting the balance of the fan
- Lubricating moving parts including the motor and fan
- Checking refrigerant levels and adding more as needed
You can handle a few of the HVAC tune up tasks, like cleaning the condenser coils or replacing the filters. However, a professional technician is needed for more complex jobs like recharging the refrigerant or replacing wiring.
What issues does an AC tune up help prevent?
An AC tune up prevents a host of issues. As mentioned, not every problem is easy to detect. Other than enjoying a comfortable atmosphere inside your home, there are three primary benefits of scheduling an HVAC tune up once or twice a year:
A pre-season checkup can catch common AC problems like a clog in the AC drain line or a slow refrigerant leak. Dirty condenser coils could cause the AC to run harder in order to keep your home cool and could cause the unit to break down prematurely. If the capacitor fails, your AC may not turn on. Detecting these challenges before they turn into major problems means you greatly reduce your risk of a complete HVAC failure when you need it most.
By having your heat pump serviced regularly, you keep the unit working at optimal performance. Newer model heat pumps can save you as much as 20% on energy bills, but keeping the unit in peak working condition is necessary to create savings each month.
Extend the lifespan of HVAC unit
The AC tune up spots potential issues, fixes any problems that may be affecting your AC’s performance, and reduces the chances that your AC stops working in the middle of summer. Tune ups are a vital part of keeping your HVAC running efficiently, extending the life of the unit.
How often should I schedule an AC tune up/ AC maintenance?
The age, manufacturer, and type of HVAC system you have will all play into how often you should schedule an AC tune up. A good rule of thumb is to have the system inspected before you begin major use of the unit, typically before summer and winter months.
AC maintenance should be scheduled in March or early April to ensure you’ll have a cool home throughout the hot summer months. September or early October are good times for a unit check-in ahead of winter.
How much does an AC tune up cost?
According to HomeAdvisor, an AC tune up cost can range between $75 and $200. The AC tune up cost is based on your location, the size and type of unit, and whether you are taking advantage of AC tune up specials. The fee doesn’t include labor and parts if a repair is needed.
The cost of an annual tune up is far lower than ignoring issues that could lead to more serious damage. Recharging refrigerant is not typically necessary unless there is a leak or other issue that was ignored. A leak repair could end up costing as much as $1,600. Replacing a compressor can cost $1,350 – $2,300. Consider the $75 to $200 annual tune up fee as insurance against more costly repairs.
AC maintenance: DIY or call the pros?
Safe, simple tasks like regularly replacing air filters and clearing debris from the outdoor unit coils should be performed on a regular basis. The complex AC maintenance jobs should be handled by a trained HVAC specialist.
To save money, check for specials in your area by searching for an “AC tune up near me”. Look into the company’s reviews and complaints from the BBB. If the company passes your criteria, be sure to schedule a regular tune up to keep your system running optimally.