What’s Included in an Air Conditioner Tune Up?
Hopefully you know your air conditioner requires professional maintenance services each year, and that the service should be performed in the springtime. But, do you know what’s included in an air conditioning tune up service? 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 HVAC technicians are often heavily booked. For these reasons, we can’t recommend enough that you have your AC serviced now. In this blog, we cover what’s included in spring AC 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 UpHere’s what’s included in a 15-point spring AC tune up, performed by Apollo Home’s qualified cooling technicians:
- 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 electrical 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 Reasons Why Spring is the Best Time for Air Conditioner 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, furnace 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. What’s included in a spring AC tune up 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 InspectionsDuring a tune up, a field technician can perform a complete evaluation of your home’s cooling system. 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 in the season. 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 that what’s included in a tune up is completed each year by a qualified professional. If maintenance 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 a qualified HVAC contractor’s completion of maintenance, you may be denied coverage under the warranty. Maintaining the cooling equipment in your Cincinnati home also improves whole-house comfort and creates healthier indoor air quality.
What You Can Do In Between Air Conditioning MaintenanceIt’s easy for homeowners to perform some tasks to keep their air conditioning working well beyond what’s included in a spring AC tune up service by a professional. During the year, take steps to reduce the wear and tear until your next tune up.
Join a Preventive Maintenance Care PlanWhen you join an air conditioning maintenance care plan, appointments go beyond the initial 15-point servicing. These plans make it 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. If you want to learn more about the Apollo Care Plan, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Check the Air Filter OftenCheck your air filter at least once a month during the cooling season, and change it as necessary. On average, filters should be changed about every three months. A buildup of dirt and debris on your 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 CleanA professional tune up will also clean the outdoor condenser coil. However, there are steps you need to take throughout the season to help keep it clean and functioning at its best. 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, which is 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 it. Beyond what’s included in a spring AC service, there are more home improvement tasks homeowners should take to improve air conditioner function. 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. Make sure the fins are all going in the same direction and not bent.
- A clogged condensate drain can let water into your house and cause damage. Part of what’s included in a spring inspection is flushing of the condensate drain, but these components benefit from extra care throughout the season. 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.