Spring’s the season for an air conditioner tune up and preventive maintenance because summer’s the season for hot days and high household cooling demands.
A severe summer heat wave is an inconvenient time to live without cool comfort. It can also be a difficult time to get emergency service as service technicians are often heavily booked.
In this blog we’ll cover what’s included in an air conditioner tune up and why this routine maintenance benefits you. Take the opportunity now, before the weather heats up, to schedule a maintenance call with a qualified HVAC contractor in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.
What to Expect in a 15 Point Precision Air Conditioner Tune Up
When the HVAC technician performs an air conditioner tune up, he or she will do several things, including these 15 steps. This ensures your equipment is ready to tackle a hot Cincinnati summer:
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Safety test all controls for proper operation
- Install gauges; record operating pressures, temperatures and compare to manufacturer specifications
- Inspect start and run capacitors and relays for bulges, rust and leaks
- Measure refrigerant levels and superheat to fine-tune its charge
- Flush condensate drain to protect against overflow
- Tighten and safety test all wiring and connections
- Check blower motor for proper function (and belt if applicable)
- Test “temperature drop” at return and supply air; adjust blower
- Adjust and clean thermostat
- Meter voltage and amperage in all motors; test for worn bearings
- Test condition of compressor contacts
- Check air filter; clean or replace with customer-supplied filter
- Clean outdoor condenser coil
- Inform customer of equipment condition and provide a printed report
4 Good Reasons Why Spring is the Best Time for Summer Air Conditioner Tune Up Preventive Maintenance
1. Manufacturers Recommendations
It’s best to make sure your equipment is ready prior to its toughest season. Your air conditioner’s manufacturer, therefore, recommends service in the spring. Likewise, heating equipment is best serviced in the fall, prior to heating season.
A qualified HVAC technician prepares your air conditioner to support the cooling function and energy efficiency. This service reduces wear and tear and extends the service life of the AC unit and components. The longer your equipment functions well, the less often you invest in a new one.
2. Preventive Inspections
A preventive maintenance service call with an air conditioner tune up also allows the field technician to perform a complete evaluation. This is an opportunity to reveal issues likely to cause malfunctions later in the summer when the system’s under maximum stress.
Dealing with minor issues early is more cost-effective than waiting until they cause major breakdowns later.
Plus, efficient and well-maintained air conditioners run more quietly. An unusually noisy air conditioner suggests it’s struggling and needs intervention.
3. Lower Operating Costs
The efficiency ratings assigned to your air conditioner are based on the assumption of annual preventive maintenance by a qualified professional.
If a proper air conditioner tune up is neglected, energy efficiency is usually the first casualty and higher operating costs result.
Proper pre-season maintenance ensures you get all the efficiency and economy your AC unit is engineered to deliver.
4. Warranty Compliance
Major manufacturers of most central air conditioners require proof of annual preventive service as part of the warranty terms. Without a record of annual maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor, you may be denied coverage under the warranty.
Maintaining the cooling equipment in your Cincinnati home also helps improve whole-house comfort and healthier indoor air quality.
What You Can Do In Between Professional HVAC Tech Visits
It’s easy for homeowners to perform some tasks to keep your air conditioning working well. During the year, take steps to reduce the wear and tear until your next air conditioner tuneup.
Join a Preventive Maintenance Care Plan
Air conditioning care plans include a seasonal air conditioner tune up. These plans make it super easy to stay on schedule with routine maintenance. Apollo Home, for example, contacts Apollo Care Plan members in early spring to secure convenient service times before the heat rises.
Near the beginning of the cooling season, you should have your HVAC contractor inspect your system and perform routine A/C maintenance. The process verifies your system is prepared for summer and running efficiently, as well as protects the system’s warranty.
Check the Air Filter Often
Check your air filter at least once a month during the cooling season and change it as necessary. A buildup of dirt and debris on your air filter interferes with normal airflow. To compensate, your fan motor works harder to bring in enough air.
This reduces the system’s energy efficiency and wears down the motor. One-inch fiberglass filters usually last only a month. Consider upgrading to higher-efficiency pleated filters, which improve your indoor air quality, protect your system better, and last longer.
Keep the Condenser Coil Clean
Thanks to Cincinnati’s wind, cleaning the outdoor unit is another important part of air conditioner maintenance in Ohio.
Keep the area around the condenser coils free of tall grass, furniture and other large objects. It may be tempting to plant tall flowers or hedges to block the view. Unfortunately, it also blocks airflow.
Poor airflow over the condenser coil prevents your system from cooling properly. The AC compressor motor may overheat and fail, an expensive repair.
Remove debris such as twigs and leaves from the condenser coil by hand, then use a garden hose to rinse the condenser clean. Use a stiff brush to remove dry leaves, grass clippings, and other debris from the outdoor unit’s fins.
Every year, remove the unit’s top and clean out debris inside with a wet-vac. Sweep away grass clippings, cobwebs, leaf debris etc. Unplug the unit and spray with a hose to remove more stubborn grime.
Clean the Evaporator Coil Annually
The air filter protects your system from damaging particulates in the air. Clogged filters allow dirt and dust to collect on the evaporator coil. This reduces the system’s cooling ability and leads to severe system damage.
Clean the evaporator coil of dust, hair and other debris by using a specialized coil cleaner or a combination of a soft brush and vacuum. This will improve your system’s efficiency, prevent cooling problems and system damage.
A Few Extra Steps
Easing the demand on your air conditioner also helps protect your air conditioner. Air leaks around your doors and windows let in hot, humid air, making more work for your air conditioner. Seal these leaks with caulk or weatherstripping as needed to improve your comfort and your A/C’s efficiency.
- Rearrange furniture obstructing the supply registers and return grilles in your rooms. Unrestricted airflow circulating through your rooms will use less energy and be more efficient.
- Clean the grilles/vents. Clean vents or grilles in your home to mitigate the pollutants and debris circulating through your forced-air system. A vacuum with a soft-brush attachment works well for this.
- A clogged condensate drain can let water into your house and cause damage. Every two months, pour half a cup of white vinegar into the condensate line to discourage algae growth. Once or twice each cooling season, use a wet-vac to pull sludge from the outside end of the drain.
More Benefits of the Apollo Care Plan
- An annual preventive maintenance AC visit helps to keep the system running on the hottest days.
- You get priority service if a breakdown happens. You won’t have to wait as long if your A/C conks out in August. All Apollo Care Plan members have access to a VIP priority phone number.
- You get a certain percentage off any repairs you might have to make. If your air conditioner is several years old or out of warranty, this can save you quite a bit.
- With proper maintenance, you should see lower cooling bills. An efficient system uses less energy, even at times of peak use.
- You’ll enjoy fewer air conditioning repairs. Proper maintenance helps prevent components from failing sooner than should be expected.
- You can get more years of service from the air conditioner before needing to replace it. Routine maintenance helps keep components running longer, which extends the life of the entire system.
- The Apollo Care Plan also includes a heating tune up as well as an annual plumbing and electrical system evaluation.
If you want to learn more about the Apollo Care Plan, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Apollo Home, Your Cincinnati Air Conditioner Tune Up Expert
In conclusion, an air conditioner tune up includes 15 main items on the checklist. It’s important to schedule regular HVAC maintenance for consistent and comfortable air conditioning in your home. Plus, professional HVAC maintenance keeps warranties compliant and prevents big repairs or breakdowns later.
When a professional inspects your system, he or she has the experience and knowledge to determine if the equipment needs cleaning, repairing or replacement.
Your HVAC equipment is thoroughly cleaned with the proper tools and minor issues are corrected before they become costly problems. After a comprehensive evaluation by a professional, you have the satisfaction of knowing your system runs at peak performance.
Apollo Home has served the home comfort needs of the greater Cincinnati area since 1910. In addition to heating and cooling, Apollo Home provides plumbing and electrical services as well as air quality solutions to better serve Cincinnati residents.
Apollo Home strives every day to exceed the whole-home service needs for homeowners. Apollo Home has received awards such as Contractors of the Year from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and an A+ Accredited Business rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Ready for your air conditioner tune up? Call us or schedule one online today!
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.