How Often Should My Home’s A/C Be Serviced?

Your air conditioning system is probably one of those home appliances that you don’t really think about until it’s not working. However, it’s more like a car, a finely tuned machine that is calibrated to reduce the humidity in your home while maintaining a comfortable temperature. Similar to vehicle maintenance, having your A/C serviced yearly will ensure it runs efficiently and the technician will check the system for any potential issues that need attention before they become a problem.

What is Preventive Air Conditioning Maintenance?

This is a comprehensive check of your HVAC system performed once or twice a year. Many companies provide a list of what the service technician will inspect and test during your scheduled maintenance. The system checklist often includes all of the following:

Filter replacement
Clean drain lines and empty drain pan
Add algaecide to drain pans
Check refrigerant levels and possible leaks
Check all connections and wiring
Test thermostat and controls
Inspect blowers and air flow
Lubricate moving parts
Clean evaporator coils and condensers
Check heat pump (if applicable)
Check fan belts

*Note: Checklists may vary by company or factors such as system age, size or brand.

Benefits of Scheduled System Checks for Residential A/C Systems

Lower energy bills – Annual A/C service may reduce your monthly energy bill by up to 15%.

More Efficient Operation – Keeping your A/C system free of accumulated dust and dirt allows it to operate efficiently.

Reduced repairs and breakdowns – Annual checks reveal issues before they become a major problem resulting in high repair or replacement costs.

Extended equipment life – Keep your central air in service longer with yearly cleanings and maintenance.

Improved Air Quality – Your indoor air is better when your air conditioner is clean and functioning properly. This is especially important if there are asthma or allergy sufferers in your household.

What Can Homeowners Do Themselves to Help Maintain Their Central Air?

While having your system looked over once or twice a year by a trained HVAC professional is important, there are a few simple things you can do between scheduled services. Use good air filters and change them every 30 to 90 days. Make sure there is nothing blocking the airflow of the outside unit (at least 2 feet of clearance is needed). Don’t close too many vents or doors so your system doesn’t have to work harder to push air through your home. Pay attention to unusual odors or odd noises coming from your system as they may indicate a problem.

Additional Ways to Keep Your Energy Bills Lower

When it comes to cooling and heating our homes, we may overlook certain things such as too many closed vents or a poorly insulated attic. Along with these suggestions to keep cooling costs down, discuss what other recommendations your HVAC company may have:

Install a digital thermostat that can be programmed according to your schedule so you’re not cooling an empty house.
Make sure your home and attic is properly insulated and ventilated. Use your ceiling fans to cool or warm an occupied space.
If you’re having a large gathering, turn your thermostat down prior to the guests arriving so your A/C doesn’t have to work overtime once the body heat gets turned up.
Don’t block all or part of your home’s air vents or registers

Sign Up for a HVAC Preventative Maintenance Program

The last thing anyone wants when it’s hot and humid is for their air conditioning to stop working. With yearly or bi-yearly scheduled maintenance from a licensed HVAC company, many common issues can be avoided saving you both time and money. Keeping your system clean and operating at its optimal level will keep your electric bill costs down and ensure you and your family stay comfortable year round.

When scheduling your preventive maintenance, ask if any service programs are available. Many A/C repair companies offer preferred customer service agreements that have savings built in with discounts on diagnostics, repairs and parts. Preferred program customers may also receive priority when an emergency arises. If it’s been awhile since your system has been attended to, consider this your reminder that a well-maintained air conditioning system runs better, cools better and saves you money!