Are Annual Air Conditioner Tune-ups Really Necessary?
Many homeowners wonder if an annual air conditioner tune-up is an unnecessary expense. On the contrary, regular maintenance can actually save money by preventing costly repairs and extending the system’s lifespan, as well as by maximizing the unit’s efficiency and performance.
Here are 7 good reasons why you won’t want to skip your annual tune-up.
1. A spring tune-up will give your air conditioner a head start.
Your air conditioner has likely been idle for months. Before you need it every day, it is a good idea to get it checked out — the same way you might have your car serviced before a cross-country trip. It might be just fine, but it makes sense to start the season with your system at peak function and efficiency.
2. Regular maintenance is almost always less costly than repairs.
Preventive maintenance is a cost-effective to way to avoid or minimize repairs and breakdowns. A certified technician can identify and address any issues while they are minor. Often just cleaning and making simple adjustments is enough to prevent the excessive wear-and-tear that would otherwise shorten the life of your air conditioner.
3. Neglecting regular maintenance can void your warranty.
Many manufacturers require annual maintenance to keep the warranty in effect.
4. A well-maintained air conditioner lasts longer.
Maintenance is about more than preventing breakdowns. Keeping your system in good working order extends its useful life. The longer your system works, the longer before you have to replace it.
5. A tune-up can increase efficiency and decrease cooling costs.
Energy costs account for a significant percentage of most household budgets. When your air conditioner is well-maintained it uses less energy and is, therefore, less expensive to operate. Dust and debris build-up, a condensate drain clog, parts that need lubrication and adjustment can all lower efficiency over time. A poorly maintained system has to work harder, and use more energy, to keep your home comfortable.
6. The EPA, Energy Star and U.S. Department of Energy all recommend regular maintenance.
A clean, efficient air conditioner is good for your budget and good for the environment.
7. You’ll get faster service with more flexible scheduling in the Spring.
Before the start of the cooling season, technicians have greater availability. This means you can schedule your maintenance appointment at your convenience. This may not be the case in the middle of summer if you need a repair. Emergency or after-hours service can also be more costly to obtain.
What to Expect from an Air Conditioner Tune-up:
A thorough inspection and maintenance appointment will take some time. The technician should:
- Clean the filters, coils and fins
- Check for the correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat