Having a functional air conditioner in your home isn’t just a matter of comfort. At times, this equipment can be essential for keeping everyone in good health. Your air conditioner regulates indoor humidity, prevents the temperature in your living area from climbing too high, and filters out a number of harmful particulates. The best way to keep your home cooling equipment in good working order is by having it serviced regularly. But how often should you schedule professional AC maintenance? Let’s find out.
Check Your Owner’s Manual and Warranty
Licensed HVAC technicians can help you establish the perfect AC maintenance schedule based upon the make and model of the unit you own. However, another excellent way to determine your ideal AC service schedule is by checking your owner’s manual. This will list all of the necessary maintenance tasks and the frequency at which each of these should be performed.
If your air conditioner is still under warranty, you’ll want to check your warranty documents as well. Warranties are mutual agreements between product manufacturers and consumers. Not only do they guarantee that manufacturers will replace defective units or defective parts, they also stipulate that consumers must perform all required maintenance tasks at a reasonable frequency. Taking good care of your AC equipment as per the instructions in your warranty will ensure that this agreement isn’t voided due to negligence or oversight on your part.
All Air Conditioners Should Be Serviced Once Annually
In general, all air conditioners should be serviced at least once each year. This is the best way to prime cooling equipment for efficient performance during the summer months and to ensure that it’s ready for seasonal increases in overall demand. To avoid having your air conditioner overheat, ice over, or break down for other reasons, it’s best to schedule an inspection and tune-up before the hot season actually arrives.
Twice-Yearly Service May Be Ideal for Your Unit
Preventative maintenance costs money, but these services ultimately save consumers more than they actually spend. Regular inspections and tune-ups provide a vast range of benefits. They allow HVAC technicians to identify problems while they’re still minor and relatively inexpensive to resolve. They ensure that worn parts are replaced before widespread damage is caused. Finally, they prevent issues like refrigerant leaks from causing total system failure.
Regularly maintained air conditioners last longer and they also cost far less to use. When all of their internal and external components are clean and properly calibrated, air conditioners use less energy to create and maintain the indoor temperatures that residents prefer.
With these things in mind, it’s important to note that there are some instances in which twice-yearly air conditioner maintenance is far better than having a system professionally serviced just once each year. For instance, you may want to schedule AC service twice annually if your air conditioner is older and near the close of its service span. Although AC systems typically last between 15 and 20 years, many air conditioners have already lost half of their efficiency by the time they’ve reached their 10-year mark. Moreover, they’ll experience progressive efficiency losses going forward. More frequent servicing can be key in these instances for curbing energy use and ensuring that worn parts don’t cause serious issues.
It’s also a good idea to schedule twice-yearly service if:
- Unit is used non-stop
- Dusty environment
- Forest fires/smoke nearby
One way to save when scheduling multiple tune-ups each year is by investing in a top-tier preventative maintenance plan.
Twice-yearly service should be scheduled in spring and again in early fall. This way, your HVAC technician can make sure that your cooling equipment is ready for the warmer seasons and hasn’t sustained excessive wear just before it’s retired for winter.
Winter and Summer Are Not Ideal for AC Service
Scheduling air conditioner maintenance in the summer is problematic for several reasons. To start, if serious problems are discovered during a summertime inspection and tune-up, you may be without a functional air conditioner during times of excessive heat. Summertime is also incredibly busy for many HVAC companies. Many providers are inundated with service requests whenever outside temperatures soar. Increased demand can mean higher costs for both labor and parts, and longer waiting times.
Turning air conditioners on and testing them during the winter months can actually cause harm to cooling equipment. Cold weather causes oil and other lubricants to thicken significantly. Running air conditioners when the outside temperature is excessively low and while oil and other lubricants are thick, slow-moving, and all-around under-performing often results in unnecessary wear.
Consider Your Indoor Air Quality
Regular AC maintenance promotes higher levels of efficiency and ensures reliable performance. However, it can also greatly improve your indoor air quality. Although there are several maintenance tasks that most homeowners can complete on their own, dirt, dust, and other debris can still build up on a cooling system’s internal components. More importantly, wiping down air registers and grilles with damp cloths or feather dusters is never as effective as the professional cleaning techniques that HVAC technicians employ. Servicing cooling systems more often is always a good idea for households with ongoing air quality issues or HVAC-related problems with excess humidity.
Don’t Forget About Your HVAC Ductwork
If you have a central cooling system, your HVAC ductwork should have a maintenance schedule as well. Build-ups of dust, lint, dander, pet hair and dirt in HVAC ducting can affect airflow, indoor air quality, and overall system performance. Although recommendations for duct cleaning service vary, it’s generally best to have it performed once every three to five years. If you have someone living in your home who suffers from any chronic respiratory condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or allergies, you may want to schedule duct cleaning every two to three years.
Establishing a Service Schedule for Ductless Air Conditioning
Ductless mini-split air conditioners should be professionally serviced at least once every year. As they age, or if they’re used continuously across more than four months of the year, they may need professional servicing twice annually. However, ductless heat pumps are far different. Unlike air conditioners, ductless heat pumps do twice the work. These units can provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. As such, some are required to work all of the time. If you have a ductless mini-split heat pump in your home, this unit should never be serviced less than twice each year.
Maintenance In-Between Professional Tune-ups
In-between tune-up service, you should be sure to check and change the filters routinely. Cleaning dust and debris from exterior components is also necessary for performance. When maintaining the outdoor unit, ensure that all overgrown foliage and other organic debris are kept trimmed and away from the unit.
Residents of Orange County, California can turn to White Mechanical, Inc. for all their air conditioner maintenance needs. We also offer heater installation, maintenance, and repairs. We can handle any HVAC project, even commercial-grade systems. Our website offers more information on specials and financing as well. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, get in touch with us today!