Whether you own a ducted or ductless air conditioning unit, it will benefit from maintenance on a regular basis. The usual recommendation is to have a tune-up done every spring. If you do this, and moreover, if you leave it to the professionals, then you will see several benefits. It’s these benefits that make AC maintenance an essential part of maintaining indoor comfort.
What Maintenance Involves
Most AC companies offer a maintenance plan where all the services that they perform during each visit are clearly laid out. What follows is just an outline of the most basic tasks. To start with, the technicians who come to your property will likely perform a visual inspection of the unit. This can cover all components, including the:
- Evaporator and condenser coils and their fins
- Air vents and filters
- Condensate drain lines
- Motor, fans, and belts
- Electrical terminals and connections
One of the first things that a visual inspection will identify is the buildup of dirt and debris. It’s essential that the two coils be clear of these obstructions. The outside condenser coil, in particular, is liable to get dirty very quickly while the evaporator coil may get dirty if the filters are clogged and not doing their job.
The visual inspection may also uncover a clog in the condensate drain line, loose electrical connections, and moving parts in need of lubrication. We will explain below how these are all detrimental to an AC unit. After the inspection, it’s customary for the technicians to go and fix any issues they find. So, for instance, they might:
- Tighten loose electrical connections
- Lubricate moving parts
- Clean the coils and condensate drain line
- Clean the vents and replace the filters
Maintenance can also cover temperature checks. Operating temperatures must be at a certain level in such crucial areas as the refrigerant lines, the condenser, and the evaporator coils. If these temperatures are off, then they signify a particular problem with the AC.
Technicians may also check the thermostat and calibrate it if necessary. Often referred to as the brain of a comfort unit, it should be able to read indoor temperatures accurately; otherwise, you won’t be able to create an efficient cooling schedule. At the end of the tune-up, you should receive a report of the technicians’ findings and recommendations for further repairs, which you can then schedule before the weather gets too hot.
Maintenance Needs of Mini-Splits
Ductless systems may require less to be done during each maintenance visit, but the frequency of those visits will not change. Both ducted and ductless systems operate in a similar way and thus have similar needs.
Maintenance and Manufacturer’s Warranties
AC maintenance is necessary for several reasons, and one of these will be obvious to owners who have a manufacturer’s warranty backing up their system. Each manufacturer differs in its warranties, but most require that you have professional maintenance done on the system for the warranty to remain valid.
It’s understood, after all, that any piece of equipment will wear down over time and that a manufacturer is guaranteeing the performance not of a neglected system but a well-maintained one. If you bring up anything with the manufacturer, you’ll likely need to provide proof of installation and maintenance in order to have costs covered.
Tune-Ups and Energy Bills
Maintenance can help you consume less energy because it eliminates all the little issues that can develop and compromise cooling, even in brand-new systems. AC systems come with over 100 components, any of which can malfunction and put a strain on your wallet.
Obstructions to airflow are one prominent issue. In fact, ENERGY STAR says that these can reduce efficiency by as much as 15%. Obstructions can be the result of:
- Dirty air vents
- Ill-adjusted blower components
- Dirty evaporator coils
- Bent fins on those coils
In addition, lubricated parts reduce the amount of electricity you use and enhance energy efficiency. Tune-ups ensure that you have the right level of refrigerant, which is also crucial to efficiency.
In all, you could save up to 40% on your energy bills with continual maintenance. Savings vary, of course, based on the type of equipment you own.
Fewer Breakdowns and Other Emergencies
Some problems, when left alone, will lead to a complete breakdown of your system or, if not that, to something requiring costly repairs. For example, fires can be started by:
- Sparks from loose electrical wiring
- Motor bearings that are not lubricated
- Air filters that are not replaced regularly
These sparks can easily set your insulation ablaze. Any dried leaves in the AC will serve as the perfect kindling, too. Motor bearings and filters are considered an indirect cause of many air conditioner fires because they can cause overheating.
Clogged condensate drain lines and condensate pumps can cause indoor flooding. Remember that the drain line and pump are supposed to remove the condensation that builds up as the AC operates. Cracks in the drain pan and improperly installed drainpipes lead to flooding as well.
Better Indoor Air Quality
According to the EPA, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Poorly maintained ACs can play a part in this as dirty filters, vents, and coils only introduce more and more pollutants in the air. Dirt and dust buildup can encourage the growth of mold and mildew, too, which will especially make people with asthma and allergies suffer.
While replacing air filters is important, there’s the possibility that upgrading the filters will help as well. With professional maintenance, you may be able to get some good advice on what MERV rating would work for your property. The MERV rating measures the ability of filters to trap particles of different sizes.
Longer Lifespan for Systems
The average central air conditioning unit lasts between 15 and 20 years, but without maintenance, it may need replacing after only 10. Some studies say that professional tune-ups can actually double a system’s lifespan. In fact, it’s not unusual for some systems to last 30 years.
As we said, maintenance eliminates small issues before they grow. If they are allowed to grow, then they put serious wear and tear on a system. You want the system to run as smoothly as possible for as long as possible; that way, you can put off the enormous cost of getting a new system.
Hiring an Award-Winning AC Company
At SuperTech Heating & AC, we offer maintenance through Savings Club Gold membership. Both residential and commercial clients throughout Timonium can sign up for this. The benefits are numerous and include:
- Priority scheduling and service
- 20% repair discounts
- Zero diagnostic charges
You might be able to perform some maintenance tasks yourself, but it’s so much more convenient to leave them all to a professional. Our company has won several awards, including the 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award. For more information about our maintenance plan, contact SuperTech Heating & AC here in Timonium. We also offer services for heat pumps, furnaces, water heaters, boilers, radiators, fireplaces, and ductless systems, among others.