Annual Preventative Maintenance for Your Central Air Conditioner
Spring is inching closer and most Houstonians will soon be turning on their air conditioning systems for the first time in 2019. We expect our ACs to keep us cool and comfortable in the hot, humid Spring and Summer months. But many homeowners are setting themselves up for disaster by not having preventative maintenance done on their AC unit each year. When you start your unit for the first time, you should have a professional HVAC technician inspect the system and perform AC maintenance.
Benefits of Annual Air Conditioner Maintenance
Having your air conditioner inspected annually has several benefits for your system, your home and your wallet. With preventative AC maintenance, you can:
- Reduce Unexpected and Costly Breakdowns – Up to 80% of all air conditioning repairs and failures are caused by a lack of maintenance. By taking care of minor issues during a maintenance and inspection appointment you can prevent expensive AC repairs and prolong the life of your system.
- Improve Home Comfort– Dirty condenser coils and evaporator coils can significantly reduce the performance of your AC. Every .01” of dirt on an evaporator coil can reduce a system’s performance by 5%. If your AC has not been maintained in several years it may be running at as low as 50% efficiency!
- Reduce High Energy Bills – Dirty, unmaintained AC systems must run for longer to cool your home. This extra run time means more money in energy bill costs.
- Improve Home Air Quality – All of the air you and your family breath passes through your AC system. Pollutants, bacteria, and debris need to be removed from inside the equipment each year to keep your air healthy and clean.
- Keep Your Warranty Valid – Many equipment manufacturers (Lennox, Trane, ComfortMaker, etc) state that failing to perform maintenance on your AC system can void the parts warranty of the system.
Signs Your AC Needs Maintenance
Annual maintenance is beneficial for all central air conditioning systems to keep them functioning at their best. In some cases, air conditioning maintenance is immediately necessary for your family’s comfort. Here are some signs that your AC unit needs maintenance:
- Your system struggles to get the temperature in your home to where you set the thermostat. For example, if you set your thermostat to 73 and the system can’t get below 78.
- Your system takes a long time to reach the set point on your thermostat.
- Your home has humidity issues. Dirty evaporator coils don’t remove as much humidity from the air as clean ones.
- Your Spring or Summer energy bills are more than they were last year. Dirty systems must run longer and use your energy than clean, maintained systems.
- Your home has issues with dust circulating through the air. Dirty equipment puts dirt and debris in the air every time it passes through the equipment to be cooled.
AC Preventative Maintenance Checklist
A full AC maintenance and inspection can be a big job and usually takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour. A complete AC maintenance checklist should include:
- Cleaning Condenser Coils & Evaporator Coils
- Servicing Drain lines
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Testing capacitors, relays and circuit boards
- Check for restricted drain openings
- Check and tighten all electrical connections
- Test AC safety controls
- Calibrating Blower Components
- Inspecting air filters
- Calibrating Thermostat
- Monitoring A/C starting cycle
Completing this list of items should keep your AC running strong and home comfortable all Spring and Summer long. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind from having a licensed HVAC technician review your system and knowing you’re getting the most out of your AC system.