Is an annual inspection of your air conditioner absolutely necessary? No, not absolutely. Will it guarantee your air conditioner will never ever break down? I wish I could say “yes”, but I can’t. I can, however, confidently say there are numerous benefits regular maintenance provide.
Prevent Unnecessary Breakdowns
Having your air conditioner inspected annually really can prevent headaches. The most common components that fail and result in emergency calls are tested and checked during a tune-up. If a part has failed or isn’t performing properly, it can be addressed at this time.
I say this because summer is the busiest time of year for most HVAC companies. If your A/C were to break down during the hottest days of summer, it could mean waiting several days to get a technician just to come out. Most companies also charge a minimum diagnostic fee or “trip charge” to show up at your home. This charge may actually cost more than a scheduled annual maintenance call, which can be set up at your convince.
Regular maintenance will make sure your cooling system is fine-tuned and running at peak performance. Just a few things a tune-up should include:
– Checking and cleaning the condenser (on the outside of the house) and the evaporator coil (on the inside of the home) will ensure maximum heat transfer and efficiency.
-Checking the filter, blower motor and duct work for cleanliness and proper air flow and making adjustments as needed for better heat transfer.
-Checking the system’s refrigerant or “freon” levels and looking for signs of leaks. An AC with an improper charge will struggle to cool your home. It will work harder and run longer which will both cause damage to the system and cost more money to operate.
-Checking the motors, wiring, switches and capacitors.
-Checking temperature difference between the return and supply air.
-Checking drains for proper slope and functionality.
Catch Minor Problems Before They Become Expensive Fixes
Performing a complete evaluation on your air conditioner can find minor issues in the system before they turn into costly repairs.
-A system with a low refrigerant charge not only works harder and runs longer, it can cause damage to the compressor (the engine of the system) over time if not corrected.
-Low charge as well as improper air flow can cause the evaporator coil (located on top of the furnace) to become a block of ice. If the drain pan in the coil or the drains coming off the coil are clogged and the ice begins to melt, that water could spill into the furnace. It then runs down onto the heat exchange, blower motor, circuit board, etc. which could end up costing a lot to repair.
-The copper lines containing the refrigerant that run back to the outdoor condenser may also become encapsulated in ice. If those lines run above a finished ceiling in a basement and then begin to thaw out, it could potentially cause damage to the drywall of the ceiling and walls and anything
-A faulty or failing capacitor at either the blower in the furnace or the fan at the condenser can prevent either of these motors from starting up when they are suppose to. This can lead to improper air flow (and the issues mentioned above) and/or damage to the compressor.
I’m not trying to scare anyone, but these are examples of what really can happened if one piece of the system isn’t working the way it needs to. Not only can they lead to more extensive (and sometimes expensive) repair work, but you’re gonna be hot at the same time!