AC Maintenance

by Feb 16, 2021Air Conditioning, Maintenance

AC Maintenance Scams

I bet you’re thinking…

Why would I get AC maintenance if everything is fine? Isn’t that just another way for HVAC companies to make money and for me to get scammed?

That’s a completely understandable assumption. And if you’ve been scammed in the past by another HVAC company, we don’t blame you for being skeptical.

In fact, Casey Services WANTS you to be skeptical! And we created an entire video series called “Don’t Get Scammed” all about that.

IMPORTANT: Maintenance is REQUIRED for most warranties !!!

AC maintenance is like getting the oil in your car changed every 3-6 months. Or checking other fluids, the pressure in your tires and rotating them regularly. Or replacing your wipers, air filter, headlights, battery, belts… you know, maintenance !

Why AC Maintenance?

Here are the reasons you should get annual AC maintenance:

Longer lifespan:

Like many things, the better you maintain your AC system, the longer it will last. And the opposite is true, too! If you neglect to maintain your AC unit, it may decrease its lifespan significantly. Without AC maintenance, you’ll likely miss damages incurred from weather, nature, and general malfunctions that could reduce your system’s lifespan.

Valid warranty:

Your air conditioner’s manufacturer warranty likely requires you to have regular maintenance completed by an HVAC professional. If you don’t get the biannual maintenance your warranty requires, it may become void.

Increased efficiency:

Increases in energy efficiency = decreases in cooling costs. In fact, for every year of maintenance you skip, your air conditioner’s efficiency can decrease by 5%. In turn, a properly maintained AC system can save you up to 20-30% on your energy bill!

Avoids costly repairs:

We aren’t claiming that if you skip a year of maintenance your air conditioner will break down. But if it does encounter a problem, repairing it will likely cost a whole lot more than maintenance would’ve! (And it’s very likely we could’ve prevented the problem, too.)

Head start:

You don’t want the first hot day in June to roll around only to find out that your air conditioner needs repair. If you haven’t turned on your air conditioner at full blast in a year, chances are it needs a tune-up to make sure it will run efficiently throughout the summer. If you wait till that first sweltering summer day to decide you want maintenance or need a repair, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of a long waiting list. Avoid this and get routine AC maintenance!

Plan for repairs:

A lot of the time, a professional HVAC technician can tell when a certain part of your AC system is beginning to fail. If you have regular AC maintenance, you’ll have an opportunity to be privy to this and financially prepare and schedule for a possible repair.

EPA, USDE, & EnergyStar recommended:

The EPA, U.S. Department of Energy, and EnergyStar agree with us – and your HVAC manufacturer likely does, too! All of them recommend annual AC maintenance for optimum energy efficiency and for keeping your indoor air quality at its healthiest.

Keeps you comfortable:

Lastly, biannual AC maintenance helps ensure that you and your family will stay comfortable year-round. Casey Services wants to do everything we can to help prevent AC system malfunctions with our regular maintenance plan so your family won’t be left in discomfort if something goes wrong.

Now that you know what the benefits of regular AC maintenance are, let’s talk about what goes on during a maintenance visit.

AC Maintenance Expectations

So, what exactly should you expect when it comes to AC maintenance?  Here are a few very important questions to consider:

1. How often should it happen?
2. How long does it take?
3. What should the HVAC technician be checking for?
4. What makes our AC maintenance services unique?

Let’s start with the first question.

How often should I get AC maintenance?

We recommend you get seasonal HVAC maintenance twice a year. Once in the spring for air conditioning maintenance, and once in the fall for heating maintenance. Normally, this is also what your AC system’s manufacturer warranty requires. If you fail to get this biannual maintenance, your warranty may become void! Yeah, not a good thing.

How long should AC maintenance take?

For an HVAC technician to properly check your air conditioning system, they’ll need at least one hour. And sometimes it can take a little longer if you have more than one system and/or other cooling accessories you’d like checked.

What should your HVAC technician be checking?

There are A LOT of things that your HVAC technician should routinely check, test, and clean during your scheduled AC maintenance visit. We’re going to outline a typical list of those items below.

  • Thermostat – check for proper operation, calibrate it, and level it
  • Air filters – check and/or clean/change
  • Condensate pump & drain – check functionality and/or clean with solution
  • Condenser coil – check and/or clean/remove debris
  • Refrigerant/freon – check for proper operating pressures
  • Superheat & subcooling – check functionality
  • Blower motor – check functionality & measure volts and amps
  • Capacitor – check health level
  • Evaporator coil – check health level
  • Humidity – measure levels
  • Heating exchangers & CO2 – check functionality & levels
  • Electrical disconnect box, wiring, etc – inspect for proper ratings, safe installation, and tighten wiring if necessary
  • Ductwork – check for functionality & any energy loss
  • Compressor – check functionality & measure amps and volts
  • Fan – inspect and/or clean blade
  • Bearing – inspect for wear and tear & lubricate if necessary
  • Indoor coil – check for proper operation

What makes our AC maintenance unique?

Our primary goal is to be transparent with our customers while going above and beyond with our AC service. That’s why we have a strict checklist of things we require our NATE certified HVAC technicians to follow when they visit your home. And not only that, but we take the time to explain all the parts of your AC system’s health and if it can be improved. All of the data we record and the work we do will always be easily accessible and explained to you. And you’ll get to see the checklist after it’s completed by one of our HVAC techs, too!

Here are some of the other things that make us stand-out from our competitors:

  • When you sign up for an HVAC maintenance contract with us, you’ll get 15% off on parts AND labor for any repairs found to be needed during a maintenance visit. And all of our repairs have a 1 year guarantee!
  • We’ll never up-sell you on additional maintenance or repairs that you don’t need. Our techs are paid well. Their focus is to make you happy, not sell you stuff you don’t need.
  • As we mentioned, all of our techs are NATE certified, background checked, must fulfill Continuing Education (CE), and are regularly + randomly drug tested. We want you and your family to feel safe and have the best service possible.
  • You can count on us to make things right if you are unsatisfied with your maintenance. One of our managers will get involved to solve the issue. And if you’re still not satisfied, senior leaders get involved.

 

So… how much does this all cost?

We’re happy to report that annual AC maintenance doesn’t break the bank like you might’ve assumed!

Cost of AC Maintenance

The national average cost of an AC maintenance visit is a flat rate of $100, ranging from $70 on the low end and $200 on the high end.  Your individual maintenance visit may be on that lower or higher end depending on several factors, including:

Cost Factors

  • Where you live (city, suburbs, country, etc.)
  • Distance your HVAC technician has to travel
  • Type of AC system you have
  • Number of AC systems you have
  • Number of cooling accessories you have
  • Current season (spring, summer, etc.)
  • Amount of minor repairs needed
  • Company reputation (how long they’ve been in business, their expertise level, customer reviews, technician certifications, etc.)

Occasionally, an HVAC company may charge by the hour. That cost per hour can be anywhere from $50-$150. But like we said before, your AC maintenance visit should take about an hour

 

Coupons & Discounts

However, Casey Services always advises you to be skeptical of cost. If an HVAC company advertises or tells you that the cost will be lower than $70 or offers you a seemingly special coupon or discount, you should be wary. Doing a proper AC maintenance job takes time and expertise.

Words like “cheap,” “budget,” or “discount” HVAC maintenance are things to be on the lookout for. While a cheaper option may be enticing, you might end up paying for it later, so to speak. Spend the few extra bucks and get the job done right the first time.

But I do have some good news for all of you trying to save a dollar on your annual AC maintenance: there are things you can do to keep your maintenance costs to a minimum AND potentially save you money in the long run!

DIY AC Maintenance

There is a lot to be said for DIY HVAC maintenance. Spotting problems early, saving money, and learning how your system works are just some of the benefits. There are some DIY AC maintenance tips that are usually safe and usually won’t void your warranty. We’re going to share them with you below.

WARNING:

Our advice is just that – advice.  We make no guarantees or warranties by offering any advice. DIY projects have risks or hazards, and you are solely responsible for all outcomes. Check your warranty and owner’s manual prior to any work. If done improperly, you risk property damage, personal injury, or even death.   🔥🏠   🩹🤕   💀☠️   –  you’ve been warned !

Certain DIY AC maintenance or repairs have the potential to void your warranty – something a lot of helpful HVAC websites leave out. When it comes to deep cleaning jobs or repairs, you want to leave those types of things to the professionals. Full maintenance requires a lot of tools, materials, and experience to do properly. The last thing you want to do is spend hours cleaning, maintaining, or repairing your AC system only to find out that you voided your warranty!

DIY Air Conditioning Checklist

Before Starting

Before starting, check your warranty or talk with your equipment manufacturer.  Get in writing that what you’re doing will not void your warranty. When you’re ready, turn off your AC system. Usually there is a breaker for the outside condenser unit and also another for the inside air handler.

Clean or Replace Air Filters

Your air filter(s) are constantly trapping allergens. If your air filter is doing its job right, you’ll find quite a bit of dirt, dust, pollen, pet dander, etc. trapped in there after a period of time. Check your air filter(s) every 1-3 months. If your air filter(s) can be vacuumed, that will save you money! But the most common air filters need to be fully replaced. Take a look at your filter and you should see its sizing information, and then head down to your local hardware store and pick up a new one!

Clean the AC vents

Wet a paper towel or rag with water/cleaning solution and wipe down the AC vents. You’ll probably get a good bit of dust off! But if you see any black fuzz, that could be a sign of mold. Have an HVAC professional finish the job.

Check the Thermostat

Programmable thermostats often use batteries, so they need to be checked. Make sure they’re good with no corrosion. Also make sure nothing is blowing hot or cold air directly on the thermostat. So no candles or fans nearby that could throw off the temperature sensor.

Clean Outside Unit

Go outside and take a look at your air conditioner’s Condenser Coil unit. Odds are you’re going to notice some pine needles, leaves, sticks, or particles stuck between the metal fins. Use a soft bristle brush head on your vacuum cleaner and gently vacuum the particles. Emphasis on GENTLY! These metals fins are easily bent or crushed. You may need to remove the metal caging around your unit to get more of the particles out. Check your owner’s manual if you need instructions on how to do this.

Realign Condenser Coil Fins

The coil fins can be bent or smushed down pretty easily from a falling branch, thrown rocks, or even light hailstorm. To realign them, you may need a special tool call a fin comb. Gently, gently, use the fin comb to realign the fins.

Trim & Clear Debri

This might be obvious, but if you see any environmental debris hanging around your outdoor unit, it’s best to remove it. After any weather has come through or you’ve been doing heavy yard work, check for debris. You want to keep a 2 foot radius around your unit clear of debris so it can function properly.  So trim back bushes, shrubbery, low hanging tree limbs, or tall grass.

Adjust the Dryer Vent

Your dryer vent expels lint from your dryer outside. If it’s angled wrong the vent will blow lint directly into your Condenser Coil. And that lint can build up, causing all types of problems. Angle the vent so that it is not blowing lint toward your outside unit.

Check Condensate Drainage

Condensation from your inside Air Handler should freely flow outside through the condensation drain. This could be from a condensation pan into a condensation drain pipe. Or it may include a condensation pump which helps pump the water outside. No matter the setup, make sure condensation is draining properly.

Check Ductwork

Visually inspect ducts for damage or leaks. Carefully inspect around any joints. Look for loose duct tape or cracks on mastic. Also check for any loose-hanging ducts that are not supported by straps.

NATE Certified Tech

There are many other maintenance services, tests, and work that only a licensed pro should do. Like we said before, you want an HVAC technician that does the job right the first time. We strongly recommend you find a local, well-rated, licensed, and NATE Certified company.

How to Find the Best HVAC Company

So, here are some things to look for when deciding on the best HVAC company for your AC maintenance needs.

Number of years in service

The longer an HVAC company has been in business, the more reliable they probably are. Plus, it’s easier to find information about them.

Transparent pricing

If an HVAC company lists their pricing on their website or is forthright over the phone with specific pricing, this is a good sign!

Tune-up checklist available

If an HVAC company can provide an AC maintenance checklist, this is also a good sign. Bonus points if they give you a copy of their maintenance report!

Proper licensure & insurance

It’s very important that you make sure the HVAC company you choose is properly licensed and insured.

References/reviews

Check out any available reviews online, and ask your friends and family for references!

Maintenance contract

Check to see if the HVAC company offers an annual maintenance contract as this can save you money and provide you with guaranteed, scheduled maintenance.

Casey Services has a long history 40+ yrs of honest HVAC service. We offer a maintenance contract for $150 where we service your cooling system in the spring and your heating system in the fall.

If you have any additional AC systems, we charge an extra $90 per system. And if you have any cooling accessories (dehumidifiers, air purifiers, etc) you’d like us to tune-up, we charge $40 per accessory.

While you might find another HVAC company that will do your maintenance for a cheaper price, you may end up paying for it later. We have over 40 years of experience and all of our technicians are NATE certified and regularly drug tested so your family can feel confident in the service we will provide.

 

Casey Services is ready to help you with all of your HVAC maintenance needs!