Air conditioner servicing and maintenance are a must for every household. It ensures that heating and cooling systems do not break down when they are needed the most. Likewise, it helps in prolonging the lifespan of the AC, keeping heating and cooling expenses under control, and in maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
And as homeowners acknowledge this need, the next question they ask is how often should they service their air conditioner and home heating system. This article will give homeowners an idea of how often they need to have their AC professionally inspected and tuned up.
How often should an AC get serviced?
Most HVAC companies recommend a bi-annual maintenance schedule. You should consider getting an hvac tune up every once in a while. Once during springtime, prepare the air conditioner for 24/7 cooling operation. Then during fall, tune up the heat pump for round-the-clock work during winter.
Keeping the HVAC well-maintained will help avoid emergency repairs that are both stressful and costly. Yes, professional maintenance may cost a bit, but it is a necessary expense every household should have in their budget. Not allotting time and money for professional servicing could lead to incurring unforeseen expenses due to repair, parts replacement, or worse, towards buying a new HVAC unit.
Apart from professional maintenance, homeowners should also do their share in the upkeep of the heating and air conditioning systems. Regular cleaning, filter replacement, and visual inspections are maintenance chores homeowners can do themselves.
Benefits of AC Maintenance Contracts
AC maintenance contracts are a saving grace for busy households. With it, there is no reason to forget about professional AC and Heat Pump tune-ups that will ensure optimal performance throughout the year.
Maintenance contracts are pre-scheduled and pre-paid bi-annual maintenance inspections. Instead of calling a company for service, the HVAC company places the call and asks for the homeowner’s most convenient time for servicing. This way, maintenance appointments are done and carried out hassle-free.
Apart from scheduled HVAC servicing, most maintenance contracts also include special discounts for HVAC accessories, as well as replacement parts. It may also include the waiving of emergency servicing surcharges.
Below are some of the advantages of having an HVAC Maintenance Contract:
Homeowners who have availed of an AC maintenance contract get priority servicing each time they call up for repairs or any concerns about their AC system, furnace, or heat pump. Instead of waiting in line for the technical team’s open schedule, contract holders jump the queue and get serviced right away.
Discounted prices on HVAC accessories and replacement parts
No matter how well-maintained an HVAC may be, it is not exempted from incurring wear and tear. As an HVAC system ages, it will naturally have worn-out parts that would need replacement. HVAC Service Contract holders usually get special discounts for replacement parts.
Likewise, accessories like whole home or partial air purification systems, dehumidifiers, and the like are offered at a discounted rate as well.
Scheduled bi-annual maintenance
The main offering of any HVAC servicing contract is a scheduled twice-a-year maintenance check for the HVAC system. This thorough inspection and tune-up keep the HVAC running at its optimal condition the whole year through. It also foresees possible heating and cooling issues and nips them in the bud to prevent costly and complicated repairs.
Moreover, these bi-annual professional tune-ups help in ensuring HVAC energy efficiency and promote the longevity of the HVAC system helping the homeowner garner both short and long-term savings.
What does AC servicing usually include?
For first-time homeowners, knowing what AC servicing includes is important. At least, they will know what to expect once the HVAC team arrives in his home, and provides the bi-annual tune-up as provided for in his AC maintenance contract.
The servicing usually starts with a thorough assessment and inspection of the air handler, and the condenser unit. Ducts are likewise checked for possible issues like holes or tears.
After that, the HVAC unit’s parts are thoroughly cleaned and inspected for wear and tear. These parts will then be lubricated so that they can continue functioning smoothly as the season goes by.
The licensed AC technician will also check the electrical aspect of the HVAC system and will also assess the airflow throughout the HVAC’s mechanism. He will likewise see the current level of refrigerant within the unit.
He will also check the condensate drain pan for any possible clogs. He will remove the gunk and any type of build-up there to prevent clogs that could make water leak out of the system. These water leaks can result in water damage that can cause structural weaknesses and mold growth. Another area the technician usually checks is the thermostat. He will see if it is still running accurately and if it communicates correctly with the system. He will also perform recalibration if needed.
Should the technician notice any abnormalities in the functioning of either the AC or the heat pump, he will then report it to the homeowner together with a recommended course of action. Most minor repairs are complimentary, except for the cost of replacement parts and major supplies if needed.
Air conditioner maintenance tips
When it comes to air condition care, the homeowner should know how often should a heat pump cycle on and off and has his share of maintenance chores to carry out throughout the year. These are all perfectly safe to carry out by any homeowner, as long as he follows safety precautions usually indicated in the owner’s manual of his AC system. Below are some AC maintenance tips:
Routine replacement of AC filters
Homeowners should make it a point to routinely replace their AC filters. Most homes will be fine with a quarterly replacement. However, households with members that have allergies or homes that own pets may have to replace their filters more often, like every two months at least.
Media filters on the other hand require replacement every 9 to 12 months. Media filters are installed within the ductwork. Regular filters on the other hand are usually located near the return air vents, or within the furnace itself.
Replacements for both regular filters and media filters are usually available in home improvement stores, big box stores, or ordered online.
By regularly replacing air filters, homeowners get to ensure that airflow within their AC system is not hampered. Dust, pollen, dander, and dirt build-up clog the entire filter and prevent air from flowing perfectly to and from the air conditioner.
When filters are clogged, the AC needs to exert extra effort to suck in hot air from the house and blow cold air indoors. This does not only mean higher utility bills. It also means possible overheating of the system, which could lead to inconvenient AC breakdowns, costly repairs, and a shorter AC lifespan.
Prevent build-up in the condensate drain pan
Homeowners can prevent clogs in the condensate drain pan by pouring plain vinegar in the drain pans every three months. By doing this, there will be fewer chances of gunk, mold, and algae building up in the pan and consequently clogging it.
When ACs are not working too hard like during springtime or in the fall, the drain pan tends to get clogged since the AC is not removing much humidity in the air. The lull in turn gives way to the building-up gunk that in turn clogs the drains.
Clogged drain pans are notorious for causing problems within the AC system so it is best to deal with it through routine maintenance care. Licensed HVAC technicians also have long-term solutions to prevent these build-ups so it is best to ask them about them.
Keeping the condenser or outdoor unit clean
The homeowner also has the responsibility of cleaning the outer portion of the condenser and the area within its perimeter. Since condensers are outdoors, it also exposed to dust, debris, falling leaves and branches, and sometimes, overgrown bushes. Dirt and debris could cause you to have a frozen heat pump as it can clog the outdoor coil fins. These could get entangled in the condenser’s mechanism and could cause various operational issues.
The good thing about all these is that these operational issues are preventable. All the homeowner has to do it to wipe the unit clean from time to time, trim bushes that are growing nearby, and ensure that nothing is blocking the outdoor unit within 12 inches of its perimeter. Blockages could cause airflow issues that could also result in HVAC breakdowns.
Make sure as well that there is a five-foot clearance between the condenser unit and any plant, tree, or shrub to keep the condenser working unhampered. If trees are unavoidable, make sure that it is adequately trimmed so that the leaves would not fall into the condenser and land inside the system. It is also good to know how does a heat pump work in summer because it works differently for the condenser in the summer than the winter.
Homeowners should also spot signs of pest infestation. Sometimes the water in the condenser unit could attract rodents and other pests encouraging them to chew on these parts. This is of course harmful to both the HVAC system and the pests. So if there are droppings or signs of damage due to nibbling, or if there are pests residing in the framing then it is time to call for pest control and HVAC servicing.
Check vent covers
Homeowners also have to make sure that vent covers are not filthy with mold accumulation. This is usually attributed to too much humidity and when this happens, vent covers molds can grow and indoor air quality suffers.
Need AC services in San Diego?
If you are unsure as to how to go about calling for professional AC care or carrying out homeowner’s AC maintenance chores, get in touch with us at Reliable Standard Heating and Air. We will be more than happy to help you with your servicing, repair, and troubleshooting needs. Just get in touch with us through our hotline or our online scheduling platform. We are looking forward to hearing from you!