You may be asking yourself how often you should service your air conditioner. If you are wondering, then it is probably time! Before summer really comes into full swing and you are melting in the scorching heat, make sure you get your AC serviced by a local Aire-Tech professional.
A tune-up is a preventative AC maintenance service that prepares your air conditioner for increased use in warmer months. Think of it as an annual physical for your air conditioner, ensuring key components are running well.
During an AC tune-up, a professional comes to your house to inspect your indoor and outdoor AC components. The visit is short and relatively inexpensive.
When Should I Get an HVAC Tune-up?
You should schedule HVAC tune-ups one to two times per year depending on the age of your system. If your system is five years old or older, schedule two tune-ups per year. If you have a newer system, an annual tune-up should be sufficient.
Ideally, HVAC checkups should be scheduled at the start of the spring and/or fall seasons. Spring and fall are typically when the weather begins to change, meaning your HVAC system will also shift from heating to cooling or vice versa. This is a perfect time to have an expert HVAC professional ensure that everything is in working order and your system is ready for the change.
Is an Annual Air Conditioner Tune Up Really Necessary?
The answer is a resounding YES!
While it may be tempting to neglect to schedule an AC tune-up for budget reasons, having annual AC tune-ups may save money in the long run. Especially in warmer climates like Los Angeles, AC units undergo a good deal of wear and tear during the hot summers. A major investment such as an AC deserves regular maintenance checks in order to expand longevity, increase efficiency, prevent expensive repairs, ensure safety and proper operation, and decrease electrical costs.
Annual air conditioning tune-ups will prevent small problems from becoming expensive repairs in the future. By catching small issues while they are easy to fix, they will not have the chance to evolve into a bigger, more complicated issue.
For instance, a clogged condensate drain is simple to resolve as long as it is noticed early on. If a clogged condensate drain is left alone for an extended period of time, it can lead to mold growth, damaged sheetrock, and corrosion of the HVAC system. These consequences will be more complex and expensive to fix than simply unclogging the drain beforehand.
While regular tune-ups are not a guarantee that an AC will not have any problems at all, they will definitely help identify small repairs before they turn into bigger problems.
A Tune-Up Will Give Your AC a Head Start
At this point, it has probably been a couple of months since you last ran your air conditioner for any length of time. You can think about air conditioner maintenance much the same way as car maintenance. You would want to check your car over before a long road trip and you want to check your AC before the road trip that is a California summer. Southern California experiences an extended season of hot weather that means a long period of heavy use for your air conditioner. Give your system a head start by making sure it is ready. Or, you will run the risk of having lower operating efficiency or even a break down that would have been preventable.
An Air Conditioner Tune-Up Includes:
- Lubricating all motors and bearings
- Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils
- Replacing the air filter
- Checking the refrigerant level
- Cleaning and adjusting the blower
- Checking and testing all electrical connections and controls
- Checking and cleaning the condensate drain
- Checking and calibrating the thermostat settings
- Checking voltage & amp draw of blower motor, compressor and condenser fan
- Testing the cooling system and capacitors
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Check out our Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling for more ways to help improve your comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioner.
Air filtration is an essential aspect of maintaining clean indoor air quality, and your air conditioner filter plays a crucial role in this process. There are various types of air filters, including disposable filters and washable AC filters that require different cleaning methods. Here are some tips to clean your air conditioner filter effectively:
- Determine the type of air filter you have before cleaning it. Disposable filters need to be replaced regularly, while washable AC filters can be cleaned and reused.
- For washable AC filters, start by turning off the AC unit and unplugging it from the power source.
- Remove the filter from the AC unit and gently vacuum both sides to remove any dirt or dust.
- If using a washable AC filter, you can also rinse it with warm water and mild soap in your sink. Make sure to let it dry completely before reinstalling it.
- For disposable filters, simply replace the old filter with a new one of the same size and type.
- Consider the size and efficiency of your air filter when choosing a replacement. A higher MERV rating indicates a more effective filter.
- Regularly cleaning or replacing your air filter can help improve indoor air quality, prevent health issues, and increase the energy efficiency of your AC unit.
The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet will allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
Air conditioner fins serve two key purposes: keeping the unit safe from weather, debris and lawn maintenance equipment like lawn mowers and weed whackers, and air conditioner fins also help move warm air away from the unit to keep the air conditioner running efficiently. Learn more about condenser and evaporator fins:
- Condenser Fins
The condenser fins are thin metal slats that run along the outline of your exterior AC unit. The purpose of the condenser fins is to move warm air away from the air conditioner while it’s running. It’s important to keep these exterior fins clean so that your AC can run efficiently, especially during sweltering days when your unit may continuously be running.
- Evaporator Fins
The evaporator fins are located inside the interior of your air conditioner around the evaporator, forming an “A” shape. These interior fins are responsible for cooling the outside air and sending it through your ducts and vents to cool your home. When the evaporator fins become dirty or clogged with debris, the air coming through your vents could become significantly warmer, meaning your AC unit is using more energy and not sufficiently cooling your home.
Condensate Drain Line
Cleaning the line will remove clogs and blockages and prevent algae and mold from growing. Over time, algae, mold and mildew can build up inside the condensate drain line and form a clog. This causes water to back up and overflow inside the air conditioner unit. Preventing this from happening couldn’t be more important, and fortunately, maintaining your air conditioner’s drain line couldn’t be easier!
Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners
At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.
As the weather begins to warm up and winter starts to die away, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the warmer months when windows start to open and birds begin to sing. Air conditioner tune-ups can seem like a frivolous thing to have done for someone who is unaware of their benefits and the importance. But the truth is, you will be stopping problems before they get out of hand. And while it may seem like you’re paying extra money for the tune-up, you’re actually saving on repairs, replacements, and energy costs by having it done.
If your system needs repair or inspection before winter, call Aire-Tech on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.