Even if you don’t suspect any problems with your air conditioning unit, heating and cooling experts say it’s a good idea to have it inspected, serviced and cleaned once a year — ideally in the spring — to ensure it operates at peak energy efficiency and is ready to cool your house during the months you need it most.
As your HVAC system runs, it accumulates dust and dirt in key areas that affect its efficiency, like the condensing coils and air filters. Left unchecked, your A/C system can lose 5 percent of its operating efficiency each year because of this buildup, meaning it can’t cool your house as capably as it could if it were clean.
Many air conditioning service companies offer low-priced, preventive maintenance service contracts — costing on average between $70 and $100 — in which they’ll clean and service your HVAC unit and replace your air filter. Some air conditioning service companies even offer discounts if you sign up for an annual plan and will provide preferred scheduling to preventive maintenance customers, should an issue arise during the busy season.
Inspections pay for themselves through improved energy efficiency, which saves money on utility bills, and a longer-lasting air conditioning unit. A yearly ac service maintenance check by a licensed air conditioning service expert can help reduce your monthly energy bill by up to 15 percent and help prevent earlier-than-normal breakdowns.
Replacing your air conditioner, by contrast, will cost several thousand dollars. Even small repairs can run several hundred dollars. A qualified ac service technician can often find and address small problems with A/C units through a regular inspection that, left unnoticed, could grow into larger, more expensive issues.
An air conditioning maintenance inspection should include checking the motor, blower, drain line, coils, operating pressures and temperatures, the return and supply lines, refrigerant levels, and connections.
If you do hire an ac service company, check to make sure its technicians are licensed as ac service contractors and the company holds workers’ compensation and liability insurance to protect you in the event of an injury or if property damage occurs during the work.
If your system seems to be working fine but the technician suggests expensive repairs or replacing your A/C unit, get advice from other ac service companies before authorizing any work to be done. Most air conditioners should last 15 years, with proper air conditioning service maintenance. – Angie Hicks, angieslist.com