Inspections pay for themselves through improved energy efficiency, which saves money on utility bills, and a longer-lasting air conditioning unit. A yearly maintenance check by a licensed HVAC expert can help reduce your monthly energy bill by up to 15 percent and help prevent earlier-than-normal breakdowns.
Replacing your air conditioner, by contrast, will cost several thousand dollars. Even small repairs can run several hundred dollars. A qualified technician can often find and address small problems with A/C units through a regular inspection that, left unnoticed, could grow into larger, more expensive issues.
An air conditioning maintenance inspection should include checking the motor, blower, drain line, coils, operating pressures and temperatures, the return and supply lines, refrigerant levels, and connections.
LEARN MORE: How Does Your Heating and Air Conditioning System Work?
If you do hire a company, check to make sure its technicians are licensed as HVAC contractors and the company holds workers' compensation and liability insurance to protect you in the event of an injury or if property damage occurs during the work.
If your system seems to be working fine but the technician suggests expensive repairs or replacing your A/C unit, get advice from other companies before authorizing any work to be done. Most air conditioners should last 15 years, with proper maintenance.
Angie Hicks is founder of Angie’s List. Have a question for her team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to #AskAngie. Follow her @Angie_Hicks.
Tell us about your experiences with A/C service and inspections in the comments below.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on June 24, 2013.