What’s Included in an Air Conditioner Tune Up?
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 UpWhen 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 RecommendationsIt’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 InspectionsA 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 CostsThe 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 ComplianceMajor 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 VisitsIt’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 PlanAir 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 OftenCheck 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 CleanThanks 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 AnnuallyThe 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 StepsEasing 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 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.