How Often Does an Air Conditioner Need Service?

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AC Repair Mesa

Subject: AC Tune-up

Spending money on repairs is necessary but not fun. Preventative maintenance is a smart initiative to saving you money from costly repairs. Try and have your HVAC units tuned-up at least twice a year if possible.

Terry Manlick

Subject: Air Conditioner Maintenance

Great informational page. Wanted to share that Air Conditioner Maintenance Kits can be purchased online at mainsupplies.com for the do it your self maintenance.

Thanks
Terry

pius itungi

Subject: learn

how can feeling line temperature help you when inspecting an air condition system?

PATTI

Subject: AC CLEANING SYSTEM

Do HVAC systems need system cleaners installed. The company that does our 6 month service is telling me that I need a cleaning system on both units I have, and it is $1890,00, which sounds ridiculous. They said it catches all the dirt etc before it gets into the compressor or motor or something. Is that normal, or am I being taking advantage of....they told my renters that they are breathing dirty air.

Kevin Marksteiner

Subject: Air Conditioning Cleaning

Hi Patti, to me it sounds like someone is wanting to take you for an incredibly expensive ride. Firstly, your air conditioning refrigeration system is completely sealed which means unless one of your pipes have broken and the system has lost all its gas, there is no way any contaminants can get inside the actual refrigeration system.

However, in saying this, the inside unit (evaporator) and outside unit (condenser) are exposed to airborne contaminants and weather. Since having serviced my first A/C unit 44 years ago, I have adopted the service regime of cleaning the condenser coil once every 2 years and cleaning the evaporator unit (coil & barrel fan) twice a year generally in Autumn to prepare the unit for the Winter heating cycle and in Spring to prepare the unit for the Summer cooling cycle.

Most A/C owners are diligent in the washing of their filters but the filter predominantly catches only larger particles of fluff. The filters "DO NOT" prevent more than 90% of airborne contaminants entering into the coil and causing a build up of sludge which creates a fungus growing bacteria within the coil and on your fan blades.

Almost every air conditioning company can wash (service) your condenser (outside unit) but very few A/C companies can clean your evaporator (inside unit) without degassing your unit, removing the evaporator, dismantling the entire unit and then cleaning it, reassembling it and then re-gassing your system....this is an expensive, unnecessary expense.

There are businesses such as my own where we clean your evaporator in situate without the costly service removal fee. Generally you should pay no more for $180.00 for a split unit evaporator clean and $90.00 for a box unit evaporator clean.

Hope this helps you avoid being taken to the cleaners and insuring you always have an efficient, healthy breathing air conditioning system.

Andy Marcano

Subject: Air conditioners are the most

Air conditioners are the most commonly used things in today's time. Most HVAC companies recommend twice a year. It's really important to get a service contract with a reputable company. It should be serviced before the start up of each season, before summer and before winter start ups.

Bob Rinehuls

Subject: AC tuneup

I think it's debatable as to whether a once or twice a year inspection is necessary. I liken it to owning a car. You can go back to the dealer religiously every scheduled maintenance interval or you can educate yourself and do smaller maintenance items yourself. Car dealerships and HVAC contractors meet payroll by selling service.

Kristi

Subject: Maintenance should not be done by yourself

Hi Bob!
I wish that I could agree with your mention of "I liken it to owning a car. You can go back to the dealer religiously every scheduled maintenance interval or you can educate yourself and do smaller maintenance items yourself." In the HVAC industry you cannot, and should not, do any maintenance or repair on your own except changing filters. Not only does that void any kind of manufacturer's warranty but also the risk you take of voiding any part warranty when a part needs to be replaced. That is why certified technicians are out there. You are purchasing units that could cost up to $20,000, on the high end, and, most importantly, you HEALTH! If it isn't maintained properly and being seen that every aspect of the units are working properly, you are risking so many health factors inside your home. We are in a world today that indoor air quality is being ignored. Sicknesses and allergies are happening and nothing is being done inside the home to fix it.
Furthermore, I have witnessed all walks of life happen around warranties at our company and, just like a car, if you don't have the maintenance then you don't have the warranty then you end up paying $1300.00 for a replacement part instead of $0. The education really needs to start from the homeowners and reading about how important maintenance by a qualified company is.

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what should you pay.  You pay what you can afford.  1100sqft unit requires a min. of a two ton unit.  prices range from 2100-2900 depending upon the seers of the system.  13 seer is the min. the law requires  and for your situation with 1100 sqft.  do not worry about the seers as long as it is to code.  the bigger the house the more seers for economy.  1100 sqft is at the border line for a two ton system.  It is more important to have your new system balance, there is where you get the economy on your electric bill and gas.  Bryant, lenox, ruud and carrier are the brands you should stay with.All have the same basic factory warrantee and will last you longer than you expect as long as you maintain it with regular check ups twice a year once in the spring and then in the fall.

raymond gonzalez
koolray heating and air
 clarksville,tn
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APRStore.com offers a nice sizing chart for HVAC capacitors and furnace capacitors. Most of the capacitors I've looked at are $5 to $15 dollars, so a little less than Home Depot and Lowes.

 

Replacement is really easy, but be sure to watch a youtube video on how to replace it like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IpydZIsOJg

 

Stay safe and hire a professional if you feel unsure about doing it yourself!

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The only thing of importance, is the hvac professional you choose to use. Alot of manufacturer's pieces are built relatively the same, and will last about the same amount of time. The thing that matters most is what you can not compare between companies, and that is the installation. Purchasing a system is not like purchasing a car, where no matter where you buy it, they are all the same. Each installation is different, and usually what you are paying for is the level of expertise, and quality of the installation, the company who will actual give you the warranty, and the comfort that you will receive. Manufacturers warranties disappear every day. They always have a loophole where they can get out of paying, but your local dealer wants to keep you happy for future work, and to protect his reputation in the communiy. Look up 4 year old Nordyne and Goodman warranty problems. Choose the HVAC professional first. It will cost you the least in the long run. I have had to totally redo plenty of installations that were just performed because of an uncomfortable customer, and a system that keeps breaking down. The equipment is only as good as it's installation, and over 70% are not installed correctly.
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I think maybe you are confusing SEER, which is an efficiency-related rating (higher SEER means more effective use of the electric power used to compress the gas), and TONS rating, which is a measure of the total cooling power of the system. (Tons used to mean how many tons per hour of ice was used in evaporative cooling building systems - a Refrigeration or Cooling Ton equals 12,000 Btu/Hour of energy exchange. A BTU, which is another antique measure but still used, is the energy needed to change the temperature of a pound of water one degree fahrenheit. Unfortunately, because of varying humidity and evaporation, this is not readily related to house air heating or cooling without a lot of assumptions and some computations. Relating this to today's world - the Manuals BayAreaAc referred to account for all these energy conversions and determine an estimated cooling (or heating) requirement for your specific house. The type of construction, solar exposure, general climatic conditions such as average temperatures, humidity, and hottest and coldest normal ambient temperatures and desired inside temperture are all taken into account in the more sophisticated versions of the analysis, so there is no "standard", though a rough old rule of thumb was about 1 ton of cooling per 500SF of house. Obviously, this was a WAG only because it did not account for insulation, type of roofing, whether you live in Alaska or Miami, etc. The ACCA manuals do a very simplified form of evaluation to arrive at a "design", which generally will be adequate. OF course, highly precise calculations are not really needed because A/C units generally come in even ton ratings - so if you are at say 2.6 ton requirement you will be getting a 3-ton unit anyway. SEER ratings are not a direct measure of efficiency, but the relative difference between ratings gives you good idea of the unit's relative efficency in using electricity - so a 16 SEER should be about 19% more efficient (so roughly comparable lower electricity bill) than a comparably sized 13 SEER unit. 13 SEER is the lowest efficiency currently allowed to be built for general use, 19 SEER is about the highest efficiency made by pretty much all manufacturers, and about 25 SEER is the highest rated though very pricey shelf-item units, though special construction custom units can reach about 30 SEER. Note however, like any government sponsored rating, much of it is hooey when you get down to it - for instance, SEER ratings are figured based on 80 degree inside air temp and 82 degrees outside, when that is far from the normal case of mid to low seventies inside and high eighties or above outdoors. This makes the absolute SEER rating meaningless, but relative numbers still have meaning in comparing units. Note these efficiency ratings are for conventional air conditoners and heat pumps working in ambient air conditions. Ground sourced Geothermal or lake/river exchange cooling units, though initially more expensive in most cases, can greatly exceed the air-exchange unit efficiencies because they are exchanging heat with cold natural water rather than with a high-temperature outside air, and instead of continually compressing a gas are just circulating cold water. I worked on one geothermal cooling project which had almost infinite efficiency, which of course makes no sense - but the only power was for sensors and a control valve as the water flow was single-pass under gravity flow, so no power was used to circulate the water.